I am sitting at my firm...at my desk...with two hanging files...shadow files from my years at Nations Bank/Bank of America and U.S. Bank. Even after the #threeyearpurgefest I hung onto them because there was joy in seeing some of the old notes people had written to me over the years, my original application for Nations Bank, newspaper clippings, etc. I haven't looked at them since I purged my office in December 2015. SO...I am sitting here staring at them and I do NOT want to keep them any longer...but I am struggling to let them go. Does that make sense?
I feel like 2017 is going to be a year of letting go of the straggling items that even in three years of purging followed by a year of deep healing and excavation, I still held on to.
There was this deep and lovely conversation between old and new friends after New Year's Day lunch yesterday where I was amused talking about lessons learned. Sometimes you don't realize that you have learned anything (really) until you are in a conversation with others. I was taken aback at my own honesty about parts of my story, challenges I have overcome, and those painful habits I still wrestle with....even after so much.
My friend Lesley was telling us about these tests her team was taking and how the instructor (?) had told them no matter how much you learn and grow, there are core things about who you are that you cannot change....they are literally Who. You. Are.
Now....I think I hid it well, but my heart sank a bit at those words...really?!?!...is that really true??
I know that is true though...I have learned that in counseling. There are things that I do because I use them to cope, and there are other things I do because that is simply who Heather is...but here is the deal...so much of who I have been (and continues to be) buried under all of the coping tricks. In fact, I dare say that I know more today about how I cope than I do what parts of me are truly just Heather.
Grief. That hurt.
Imagine being 45 and figuring out your core....eye roll...I digress.
One of my coping mechanisms is change. I use change as a defense and coping mechanism. People hate change, so I in turn love it...and use it to my advantage...because I find it thrilling. Shake things up and while everyone else's heads are spinning, I can get things done. I have the upper hand because my feathers are unruffled. My energy level is a 10 on a scale of 1-5. If I keep changing and moving, I don't have to deal with anything. Ever.
Ever. Ever. Ever.
I held onto some of this crap (straggling items) last year not simply because parts or all of it cleared the joy test, but mostly because what happens when I have none of the straggling items left? What happens when I don't have the emotional time bombs of a file folder or a box or something I should have gifted to someone a year ago? What happens when I write that final thank you note from the sale of a piece of property? What happens when I really give away that last size 8 (beautiful) skirt (or the bling bling heels that go with it), not because I will never be that size again (as if - eye roll), but because that "style" time in my life is over....and it is just collecting dust.
So....today I am looking at 2017 and feeling the deeper challenge of purging things that don't really give me joy but simply keep me from feeling the grief in letting those items go....those last things that belong to a time and place, a Heather, that I no longer am...and no longer need to be.
This is the time I realize just how much like Lot's wife I truly am. I too would have failed the test and looked back....pile of salt I would be...
I am addicted to the looking back and it is keeping me from moving forward.
I guess that is what we will get answered in 2017...because there is more of me ready to crawl into the photo above and get going than is not....but the "not" is heavy and crafty...it is as much old wounds still unhealed to old habits to old ideas to three pairs of beautiful shoes that I have no (real) use for to a stack of notes that need to be mailed. It is time to drop the straggling items and habits that are holding me back. It is going to take all that I have learned these past years, it is going to take friends holding me accountable (I see what you did there Lesley - calling me out at lunch yesterday), and it is going to take a deeper level of bravery. USPS and Waste Management....get ready.
The open road awaits....and yes I am having a flash to "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" film. So...I just started playing the song from the soundtrack that I love so very much (and listened to on repeat a lot during the purge)....Stay Alive which you can listen to HERE....those lyrics though....LOVE.
Dawn is coming...open your eyes.
2017 is here. Day 2.
What is hanging on from year's past that you need to finally move on from?
What is keeping you from the future God designed just for you?
What demons are buried inside you have ignored too long?
This first week of a new year is a great time to ask yourself all of those deep, important questions.
I know I am....and there are these two files....