By Maile Sundquist
I remember watching an episode of Hoarders where a counselor was talking with a woman who hoarded, who still had her young teenage boy under her roof. They were discussing her behavior and addressing the piles and boxes filled with everything he had ever owned or created. The counselor asked the woman about the significance of several items from one of the boxes and the woman gave an excuse and reason why each item was special and had to be kept. The counselor then said something I’ll never forget. In so many words, “Your son is here, with you, still alive, and you are missing out on making new memories with him by holding onto all of these items from the past and clinging to the memories of yesterday. You and your son’s relationship is being suffocated by your stuff”. It was heart breaking and tragic, as most of those episodes are, but the counselor made such a good point!
You have to grow with things, whether it be a child or your circumstances, and embrace the change. If we fight or deny the only constant in life other than death and taxes, we will always lose, being left resentful, frustrated and stuck in the past.
Change can seriously suck sometimes. Like trying to fit into your wedding dress 5 years, or in my case a year later and not being able to get it past my ankle, or getting crows feet or a divorce. I love feeling in control and having things just so, a perfect orchestrated masterpiece of efficiency and harmony that I can rely on. Alas, this only lasts a short time before “change” rears it’s ugly head. We can only control so much for so long before the winds of change put a snag in our plans. But maybe it’s not always for the worse. I know I could benefit from letting go and letting God more often. Change can bring beauty and healing as well as frustration and stress. Think of the changing of seasons!
Often people are shocked to find out that Fall is my favorite season. “Everything dies in Fall.”, they always say. What I love about Fall, other than the crisp air, blue skies and beautiful colors, is the fact that it makes room for new growth and rebirth come Spring. Without the dying off of the old, bad habits, there’s not room to create new good habits. Without the letting go of regrets of the past, there would not be time or mental and physical energy to create new memories and live each moment to it’s fullest!
Although I live simply in a minimalist lifestyle, I can relate to the hoarding mom a bit now that I have a son of my own. Seriously, watching my son grow up has been insane! A total emotionally charged blast! Now that he is over a year old my husband and I are already finding ourselves reminiscing about when he was a newborn, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months. And what I would have never thought of before being a parent is just how much there is to reminisce about in such a short period of time because they grow and change so incredibly fast their first year of life. Sentimentality kicks into overdrive when you become a parent, and I definitely have felt the hoarding bug crawling up my leg more than once, but every time I do I recall the words of the counselor in Hoarders and remember how much better it is to embrace change in life. Cherish yesterday, but live in today embracing every facet of the now.
Don’t lose the present by holding too tightly to the past.