Every life has many different chapters…
- Some fun, busy, and exciting
- Some difficult, lonely, and sad
- Quite a few rather ordinary
But they each serve a purpose. In some way, they prepare us for the chapters to come. It is impossible, unrealistic, and overwhelming to fully explain every chapter. However, there are times when we can see and appreciate how it all works together.
It takes courage to look ahead to a new chapter of life. Oftentimes fear and guilt persuade us to keep looking back—reliving past mistakes and rehashing poor decisions. That really isn’t fair. Not one person can change one single detail of the past, whether it was 10 years ago or just yesterday. But we can learn from the past and apply those lessons to how we live today.
Clutter has a way of preventing us from discovering a new chapter of life. It may be very difficult to write a new page in your life when you are surrounded with unnecessary, unwanted, and unused items.
- We let things pile up on the counter.
- We keep stuffing things in the closet.
- We stack another box in the garage.
Often, we play musical clutter. We move stuff around our house, but delay making a decision. We keep accumulating more things, but resist giving things away. We imagine all sorts of uses for our excess items, but never carry through and finish projects. Eventually all the stuff traps us in the past.
So that presents few questions to consider:
- What can I start doing to make the next chapter of my life a chapter I will savor?
- What can I stop doing to make the next chapter of my life a chapter I will enjoy?
A friend of mine recently moved. She has several boxes of “used-to-be-very-important-papers” in her garage. She has made great progress by already taking over 75 lbs of papers to Angie Shred. But she said to me, “I am ready to be done with these papers. They have followed me long enough!” She is ready for this chapter to be done. I imagine there are lots of people who would say the very same thing.
I once took a smocking craft class with my friend Deb. I never finished the projects, but carefully packed them away with all the required supplies in a very nice organizing box. I moved it all several times. Finally I gave myself permission to donate it all. I can enjoy the memory of the time together without keeping the unfinished dresses.
I don’t make scrapbooks anymore. I prefer to collect very small keepsakes and cards in a beautiful decorative box. I especially enjoy just tossing in the items! I can still enjoy the memories without everything being on a fancy scrapbook page.
Almost everyone has piles of magazines to read, drawers of recipes to try, or boxes of photos to sort. Think how refreshing it would be to finally be done with these projects—or to give yourself permission to not do them! Then you could focus on a new chapter rather than keeping the bookmark in an old chapter.
For my 30th birthday, my friend Nancy Jo sent me a box of 30 envelopes. Each envelope contained something to represent one year of my life. It was one of the sweetest gifts I have ever received. I didn’t need 30 huge boxes to remember what was special—one reminder was enough. It helped me move on to the next chapters.
I love the optimistic confidence of this quote:
“The question isn’t who is going to let me:
It’s who is going to stop me!”
What new chapter do you want to be reading next week, next month, or next year?
What can you do today to make it happen?