Forward Living: Get free of useless baggage

For the first time in my life (yes, it’s possible), I decided to take a winter vacation in Florida. I know the “snow birds” do it regularly. But as for me, and as weird as it sounds, I don’t mind the winter months. 

With a Florida vacation on the horizon, I started thinking clothes. I’m a closet clothes horse (no pun intended.) However, nowadays, I live on a budget; I dare not splurge too much. But I can buy a few new pieces each season with one caveat: I must discard in equal amounts what I purchase.

First impressions count, right? I was embarking on an adventure and meeting new folks who, incidentally, became new friends. Well, OK, it was a flimsy excuse to freshen up my wardrobe. But I had to keep my self-promise and trash some stuff. Well, not exactly trash, but donate it to a thrift store.

I set aside a “no mercy” afternoon, which simply means that if I hadn’t worn it within two years or so, it goes to the thrift store. As I picked through my clothing, I was having a hard time deciding what to discard. Nothing new here!

I can always rationalize why I need to keep something like my wide-legged, bell bottom trousers or a pretty miniskirt — not too mini, but short enough. I haven’t worn the skirt or the trousers in many a year and, obviously, I had broken my self-promise. On this “no mercy” afternoon, I finally laid these two items to rest in the discard pile. The wide-leg pants, although they fit well, look dated. Perhaps at a certain age a “not too short” miniskirt was a tad trashy.

As I picked thorough my summer wardrobe, memories both good and bad began to surface. After my husband, Frank, died, my mood was dark and I had purchased two navy-blue outfits — and while navy is ho-hum nice, it dredged up some blue memories. “No mercy!” Out they went.

I came across a pretty dress that was splashed with color. Ah, yes, I remembered how I felt wearing it. I was finally getting my happy on. It was destined to visit Florida with me.

By the end of the afternoon I had a nice pile for the thrift store and bonus! I went shopping, guilt-free. On my return trip from the outlets, I wondered why it’s so hard to throw stuff out. I hate clutter and as a rule I don’t have pack-rat tendencies.

That being said, discarding bad habits and outdated misconceptions is just as hard. Our old baggage is so precious to us, don’t you think? For instance:

We mistake busyness for freedom and wonder why we’re exhausted.

We want the truth but expect it to be painless. (Ouch!)

We nurture our angry judgments or our aching disappointments.

We can’t (or won’t) forgive. As a matter of fact, we fan the flames just to keep the anger alive.

We sometimes refuse to love for fear of being hurt.

And then we wonder why we feel so stuck and held back in our lives. Folks, when we carry around trunks of outdated stuff we’ll never be entirely happy — not to mention having bad backs. Trunks full of useless stuff are heavy.

Author C. JoyBell C. writes: “You will find it is necessary to let things go, simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weight to my ankles.”

If your closest is full of unwearable clothing or your mind is cluttered with useless rubbish, it may be time for a “no mercy day.” Having the courage to cut free from all the ineffective baggage that weighs us down — be it outdated clothing or ideas — is, well, courageous. Let’s be bold and just do it! Dollars to donuts we’ll find ourselves walking into a wide-whoopee world feeling light and free.

Any takers?

IannelliMs. Iannelli is a resident of Jamesport.