the changing sands of time

© Car Culture/Getty Images

Anyone who knows me knows that I am *ahem*, a packrat. There, I said it. I save, collect, hold on to and generally don’t throw things away. My family laughs at me. There are several reasons for my “collecting”^^, which I will now enumerate for you:

  1. I have a genetic predisposition for saving things. My grandfather was a collector, of sorts. And while I don’t do some of the strange things he did*, I’m still like him in many ways.
  2. Saving family “treasures” has provided me with a sense of historical identity. I don’t know why this has always been important to me, but it has. I love the fact that I have pictures of great-great-grandparents and that I have the bible that was given to my great-grandparents on their wedding day from her parents – signed and dated! I guess in a country that is considered young and hodge-podge, identity is important.
  3. These little treasures have often afforded me some value of comfort. I am comforted by still owning stuffed animals from when I was 4. I am comforted by old books, records, photos, t-shirts and other memorabilia. They have given me not only comfort, but also validity – that I’ve actually lived a life.
  4. They also make me “feel” rich. In a day and age where I can’t afford a lot of stuff, holding on to the stuff I have makes me feel rich. Simply put.

While all of these things were 100% true for me in the past, they are becoming less true for me now. I, very surprisingly, have felt the need for de-cluttering. *gasp* I hear you all collectively heaving. No, not Tonja! But alas, it is true.

As part of my “in-school-struggle” to feel less overwhelmed, I have adopted a schedule that has been working out very nicely for me. I get up at 5:30 every morning, and between 5:30 and 8 AM when I head off to work I have accomplished my daily bible reading, my daily writing/journaling, breakfast, word study (gotta keep those Greek words close, baby!) and still have time to get ready to leave. I’m taking my lunch every day and making my breakfast every day and that feels really good.

But here is what feels even better. As part of my new routine, at 9 PM every night (except for Thursdays because I’m in school that night), before I get ready for bed, I make a pass through the kitchen and wash dishes, straighten up and get the coffee pot ready for the next day. After doing this schedule for 2.5 weeks now, I’ve decided that I really love getting up in the morning to a clean kitchen. When things are put away properly I feel a sense of release and freedom that I never knew could happen.

Some of this freedom is flowing into other parts of my life. A few weeks ago I *threw away* 3 whole boxes of STUFF. I am shocked and amazed that two whole weeks later I don’t even feel a twinge of loss for all the “stuff” that I threw away. (Now before you have an all-out-heartattack, you should know that I did at least go through the boxes of stuff before I threw them away. There were a few items retrieved, but only a few.)

I now have the sense that I will be throwing away even more stuff in the very near future. I’m excited for the prospects!

^^I am trying to distinguish from HOARDING and COLLECTING. I am NOT a hoarder – I don’t save *everything*. I can walk freely about my house, I don’t have uncountable numbers of animals running freely inside, I have no strange smells eminating from places. I do, however, save things that fit into one of several categories – and that is the essence of “collecting”.

*You should ask me sometime about the things Pap-pa saved. They would amaze you.

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2 thoughts on “the changing sands of time

  1. Mom says:

    I gasped when I saw the photo you posted. My immediate thought was ‘How did she accumulate so much stuff since I last actually saw her garage???’ THEN I read and figured out that it was NOT you garage. haha I didn’t know you had the bible. I want to see it next time I’m visiting.

    • tjbrice says:

      Mom, that’s funny! I would love to show you all of the family bibles that I have! I think they number about 8 in total – everything from the wedding bible, to Joel’s personal bible, Pap-pa’s personal bible, Mam-ma’s bible and one that she had kept in the front room recording family history. I have them all!

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