By Crystal Hurd
Ah, moving. Most of us have experienced the cathartic/irritating process of packing up everything we own into boxes and taking it to a new place. My husband and I had been casually looking for a bigger house for several months. Our current one was small, not even 1000 square feet. In April, we found a foreclosure we loved and took a dive. It needed some TLC, but we were willing to work and gain what my father calls “sweat equity.”
Painting? No problem. Cleaning? No problem. Redoing the countertops? No problem.
What was genuinely tough was packing. In the eight years we lived at the old house, we had accumulated more things than I had anticipated, making packing a long and agonizing task. Once a year, usually during school breaks, I did the usual “cleaning” where I discarded old possessions, delivered clothes to Goodwill, and gave away things I no longer used. I thought I was doing a decent job.
And now here I was surrounded by empty boxes and stacks and stacks of things that needed to be moved. I thought I had purged all of this. I was beyond aggravated. But it gave me an opportunity to give a hard look at items which have been tucked quietly away in closets for years. I pulled it all out into the floor and began to scavenge. What to keep? What to throw out? At one point, it became overwhelming.
But I realized that the true challenge was in my attitude. I needed to approach the whole project as a cleansing. I was under no obligation to keep anything that I didn’t want and if I didn’t want some old stuff to burden me at the new house, it didn’t have to. I had complete control in determining what to do with it. That is truly liberating.
As I sifted through remnants of the last fifteen years, I began to trace the progression of my life. When I was young, I wanted to cling to these things, for fear that if I evacuated the relics of my past, an essence of me would go with it. But that is not how it works. These items may represent a point in my life, but they by no means define who I am. They are simply souvenirs on life’s journey. Letting them go is not betrayal, it is simply making room for something new. My past and my experiences have shaped who I am. But why keep my gaze firmly locked in the past? Why prefer the backwards glance? There are so many amazing experiences that await us when we embrace the future with enthusiasm. Start fresh. What we hold so tightly in our grip may be the one thing preventing us from moving forward.
Later I chuckled at the metaphor. Regrets, resentment, and pain from the past are like that pair of pants that just doesn’t fit. You keep waiting for one day when you will be able to pull them on without laying desperately across your bed depleting your lungs of air. That one day when you will be “good enough.”
Forget about it. Get rid of it. Some skinny gal shopping at a consignment store will enjoy them. At least they aren’t hanging in your closet giving you a guilt trip. Make room for something better.
Dr. Crystal Hurd is a writer, reader, public school educator, and adjunct professor. She is happily married with three beautiful Terriers (adopted from local shelters). She is a certified book nerd who loves to read and research works involving faith, literature, art, and leadership. You can visit her webpage www.crystalhurd.com , friend her on Facebook, (Crystal Sullivan Hurd) and follow her on Twitter: @DoctorHurd and @hurdofficial.