This year there have been many Anniversaries celebrated from Wars to Weddings. As time goes by we acquire many memories as well as objects that remind us of those happy times we have experienced in our lives. Be it a memento from a successful project, a much loved book, photographs of a special moment, we put them somewhere safe and store those memories in our mind so we can be reminded of that particular moment. Over time the space for all these “important” memories becomes cluttered. Are they really that important? Some are but others are not necessarily that important although they are nice to have.
Looking back I have an abundance of memories many of which are often attached to objects that have been taking up a lot of room in my attic, my house and in my mind.
My life has been in 10-year segments – all of them different and great fun, (some not always quite so much fun) but all have been memorable and they have made me who I am today. However, a pleasant “space” is important to me and I realised this when I walked over Port Meadow at the weekend with my family. (If you are ever in Oxford and want to clear your mind and let it be creative, visit a beautiful wide open space called Port Meadow.) There I can visualise my future and make decisions as to what I want my life to look like. It is a place to let go of all those things that weigh us down and it is also a place for dreams. And I have a dream!
However, if my mind (and house) are full of memorabilia where is the space for new ideas, new adventures? My son told me that my house was beginning to bulge at the seams and asked “how can you think clearly with all these ‘things’ around you?” Good question! Over the years the mementos I have collected together with family heirlooms have taken over. You see one of my passions is writing and whilst I have written books about my expeditions I have always wanted to write fiction. I love books and they are everywhere in my house.
My father once said to me: “Never leave this world with any ‘I wish I’ds.’” What a great point to make to a teenager. How often do I hear people say “Oh I wish I’d… when I was younger.” I was reminded of this when I was knocked down by a cyclist last November. He broke my wrist and knocked my front teeth out – I’m doing a great Nanny McFee impression whilst we work on restoring the teeth! It reminded me that there’s an end date and we have no idea when it is. Speaking to one of my clients the other day she told me she was leaving work. I asked where she was going and she gave me a lovely response: “My husband is 70 and I want to spend some time with him before it’s too late.” It was great advice my father gave me!
At Easter my son brought his family to stay. Whilst his wife edited videos for her business (she is the artist Erin Faith Allen) and his daughter had her midday nap, he and I stripped the house of anything that was superfluous to requirements. By the end of five days we had “lightened the load”, driven many times to the charity shop while the rest went to the dump. Family heirlooms and belongings my children had stored in the attic were distributed to the relevant offspring.
My house feels lighter, I think more clearly about my business, my life, my goals and what the next adventure is The answers to problems are easily found now.
Sometimes we have to clear out the attic (literally and metaphorically) in order to think clearly and be creative. So when are you going to clear out the old in order to bring in those new ideas and goals? I always carry a notepad and pen – it’s how I create as I write my stories in longhand before typing them onto my computer. We only have one life – is yours in balance or swamped by work responsibilities? Are you living the life you want to live? Are you fulfilling your dreams?