The Changes We Keep

Fall has arrived and I’ve been taking stock. Maybe it’s a writer thing. Or maybe it’s a Redneck thing. I don’t know. But this is the season I stand back and say “What’s changed?” And so much has.
You know how you take a day and go through the stuff in the garage, or the extra bedroom, or the closets and weed out all that stuff you don’t need? Boxes of things that you can’t remember why you saved it in the first place end up tossed into a stack to go to Good Will or the dump. I’ve noticed that the last few years, my personality, my life, have been about dumping stuff I don’t need. Complications, resentments, people are all dropping away out of my life. I used to hang onto those things, cling to them. Now, I have less trouble letting them go. I don’t know if it’s my age or just the way my life has morphed, but I don’t have much interest in trying to make things complicated.
As a writer, it’s important to keep the good stuff, delete the unnecessary. It’s the story that matters. The delete button has become my friend and I never thought I’d say that. The same is true of my life. Keep the core, the things that matter.
Guilt? No way, toss that. I don’t need it. What purpose does it serve? Am I a better person for doing things just because I feel guilty? Not really. My mother falls into this category. I accepted a long time ago that I’m just not my mom’s cup of tea. She loves me, but if God gave her a choice, I don’t think I’d be the daughter she chose. I’m not going to twist myself up into a pretzel to be what I’m not.
Resentment? Hell no! First of all, I don’t do well with resentment. When I simmer, I usually add self destructive habits to the mix and it gets messy. So, no resentment. That means when the Cub Scout Bitch does her thing–judging my children, taking potshots at everyone around me and generally being pissy–I’m not going to take it on as my shit. Like my mother, I’ve accepted she doesn’t like me. That stuff used to bother me. Somebody out there doesn’t think I’m wonderful! And I’d bend over backwards to change it. Screw that. I am who I am and it’s taken a long time to be okay with that.
The hardest thing has been watching my two boys go through it. I’m forty-one. It’s taken YEARS to get to a point where who I am, what I am, is okay. Both my boys are “different”. They don’t go with the flow or “fit in”. They are uniquely themselves. The world isn’t always kind to “different” and I’ve played a huge role in their personalities. It breaks my heart to see them struggle.
So, I’ve taught them the few things I know. People aren’t always going to like you and that’s okay. Life isn’t always fair, but that’s okay too. And there’s always something good, even if it’s just that the day is almost over.
This morning, I took stock and realized that I’d jettisoned a lot of stuff I didn’t want anymore. I feel a little leaner, a lot lighter and less weighed down by the things I’d been carrying.
Now, if I could just apply all this to my closets……



Filed under Being Philisophical, Whiskey Wednesday

12 responses to “The Changes We Keep

  1. I do a bit of tutoring in my neighborhood… & when i see “different” kids having a rough go of it…
    i like to remind them…
    bill gates was dif… picasso was dif… angelina jolie was dif…. allll the good ones are/were different and THOSE are the struggles made them sooo successful…

    • Jen

      That’s what I tell my kids. It gets better when you’re older and “different” isn’t viewed as a threat. But I remember the “need” to fit in. It’s brutal.

  2. My office was painted two weekends ago. I had to take all the books of the built in shelves and pile them in the center of the room. When it came time to put them back, I thought, “Hell, I’m throwing a lot of this stuff out. Don’t need it.” So far I’ve set aside 2 boxes of books with more to go. I hope it carries over at home, too.

  3. Love this post, and I’m getting to where you are, slowly but surely.

    Must add- kudos to you for the way you’re raising your sons. My Mama always told me it was “her job to raise me for others to love”, and I’m just now getting to the point that I realize in my heart that the point of life is not gaining the approval, acceptance and affection of others. If you have the good sense to love me, great. If not? Fine too.

    This, in a nutshell, is what I love and admire about you.

  4. Shawna

    My son is different too. Don’t you wish they could learn some things by example instead of experience?

    And like you, I’m finally not caring so much when people don’t like me. At least I’m not turning myself into a pretzel so they will.

    Um, and for the record. You’re my cup of tea–heavily laced with whiskey now and then, but mine none the less. : )

  5. Rob

    This was a cool post. After I turned the big four-oh, I noticed immediately I felt a lot more comfortable in my own skin and didn’t care what anyone else thought. Almost as if I’m entitled to it because I made it this far. LOL

    It IS a lot easier to get rid of things I don’t need or want. It’s like the emotional attachment I had is gone because I realize in the end they’re just things.

    • Jen

      Yep. I’m not sure what it was about that birthday, but it just makes a lot of things seem….trivial.
      I notice a big reduction in drama.

  6. Good advice for any season, thanks for reminding us!

  7. Fall does that to me as well. Probably because I have to pack away the summer clothes and pull out the winter sweaters. It’s easy to cull through both. And it seems to flow over to everything else. Cleaning out. Letting go.

    It breaks my heart to hear you talk about your boys and their difficulties. I was an elementary school teacher. I loved the kids that walked to a different beat. They come out so much stronger, but this time, this being different, it doesn’t feel good to them I’m sure. Hugs to all of you.

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