When my youngest step-daughter re-located to our home, I sat her down and told her she had just enrolled in LIFE 201, a two year course on how not to be a hermit in her own room and become a self-sufficient young lady. She has now moved out, but the safety net (our home) is still there for her, just like it has been for all our children.
In my 60s, I am still enrolled in the school of LIFE.
Let’s take a look at the school of LIFE.
My undergraduate courses in LIFE took me almost 22 years (the dependent and educational years).
I worked through elementary school, junior high, high school, and college academics; learned how to be a friend; got involved in extra-curricular activities and sports; and explored the dating scene.
The day of my college graduation, I graduated into the bachelor’s of LIFE program. I had, supposedly, learned the basics of LIFE , and possessed the skills needed to function on my own in the world.
My bachelor’s degree in LIFE evolved over the next 34 years, but even today, I’m not always sure I’ve completed that course work and graduated because there are still valuable lessons to be learned.
- I failed the marriage course the first time round. (I’ve been married twice / divorced once.)
- The child raising and development courses found me raising two kids (both boys) and being considered the “mother of choice” by my two step-daughters.
- I passed the employment and employ-ability courses with ease. (I worked a professional career teaching high school for 34 years.)
During these 34 years, however, struggled to keep my head above water mentally, emotionally, financially, and physically.
In 2014, after completing my bachelor’s degree in LIFE, I enrolled in the master’s degree program.
Some people work the bachelor’s and master’s degree at the same time. I’m not sure how they do it because some of the master’s program course simply exhaust me.
In the past five years, this program has handed me courses on
- living with a fixed income
- major health issues and how to handle them
- moving to a state of my choice
- freedom to travel and choosing where to go
- healthy cooking for two
- cleaning, purging, and simplifying my belongings
- winning in a world where many believe that turning 50 classifies on as a “senior citizen” ant that one is now OLD
Right now my focus is on spring cleaning and all that entails at a master’s level course. The prerequisite skills include basic cleaning knowledge and organization skills.
Spring Cleaning 501 requires you to look at your home (possessions), your life, and the world. (Thank you, Frank McKinley. Your Facebook post, “Spring is here. What will you throw out of your life?” has inspired this article and list.)
It’s not enough to decide to “throw” something out but to also understand why you have it and/or kept it AND you are “throwing” it out.
Although the first day of spring was March 20, as a student and teacher, I was never able to get my spring cleaning started until the school year was over. For me, this is why Spring Cleaning 501 is beginning June 1.
For my house:
I want to throw out (or donate or sell) –
- kitchen items that I haven’t used since I moved to Tennessee. This includes vintage dishes, bake ware, china, stemware, and serving dishes. I still have so much that I inherited: 2 sets of china that were my grandmother’s, my mother’s china, 2 sets of Christmas china that my mother had, half the set of china from my first marriage, and the set of china that my husband and I bought at a garage sale. I need to eliminate most of the vintage glass serving dishes I have, and, oh yeah, the vintage colored nesting mixing bowls from the 50s or 60s
- the clothes in my closet and drawers that I can no longer wear (I’ve lost 25 pounds already) AND the clothes that are worn out AND the clothes I haven’t worn because I don’t like
- the wide variety of knick-knacks that will never see the light of day again
- the vintage education books my mother collected
- the old slides and photographs of that people and places that are dark, blurry, and/or identifiable
- the ephemera. (collectible paper items)
Hanging on to these items creates chaos because I lack space for storage. It also feeds my inability to make decisions.
What materialistic items would you choose to purge out of your life? Why?
For My Life
I want to throw out (Unfortunately, these things keep coming back to find me.)
- my growing lack of confidence in myself and the ability to do the things I want to do. (I really wish I knew when and where I picked this up.)
- my non-doctor, undiagnosed moments of depression
- the feelings I get of not being good enough at anything I do
- my need for perfectionism which leads to procrastination
- my feeling of being totally alone in the world. (I’ve been fighting this since I was in third grade.)
I want the positive outlook and happiness in life I have tried to get others to see. In addition, I am tired of wearing the mask of happiness rather than being totally happy.
What negative aspects of your personality would you choose to purge out of your life? Why?
For The World
I want to throw out (but I am powerless):
- the choice or challenge to do something even though it is dangerous and they know it is dangerous. You know the kind of challenge — those that are taking on the dangerous Facebook challenges like eating Tide Pods or driving blindfolded or even car surfing on the interstate
- the debilitating health issues people are facing
- the complete greed in the world. (It’s the one thing that irritates me when watching Shark Tank that makes me want to slap the potential investors across the face when they suggest making better money if they ship production out of the USA.)
- the greed in the healthcare insurance industry and in the medical/pharmaceutical industry. (We’ve been watching the show American Greed lately.)
- lying, cheating, and thieving
- the “my religion is better than your religion” concept and purchase the “thank goodness you believe in something” attitude for everyone
All of these negative aspects of society, in my opinion, are dragging civilization down. I feel like some of the people who forged paths for a better world are rolling over in their graves at what we have done with their dreams.
What would you choose to purge from society? Why?
This article was first published on Medium.com on May 26, 2019. “Spring Cleaning 501: My House, My Life, My World.”