“When you’re in between [jobs], you have to declutter. Organize your files, and throw away some items whether or not they were related to your previous company. You have to tidy up.”
That’s essentially what an aunt of mine told me last Friday—the day after my last day with my previous company. Now, I am not sure if she picked it up from Marie Kondo (and I am not claiming I have read her works to be familiar with her philosophies), but to a great extent, she made sense. A lot of it.
When a few friends of mine found out I was leaving, they told me to have a vacation. Have a retreat. Just get away from this city. And it was tempting, specially that I have a brother living in Singapore so I need not fret about burning cash when it comes to accommodations. My mother also even said that maybe we could go to her home province, and it makes sense I think. It has been more than decade since we’ve last been there, I believe.
But the temptation to even further break free, and put a badge to my liberation from much chaos all disappeared when my aunt gave me that advise. In my mind, reclaiming the zen and owning it didn’t mean finding it elsewhere. It’s exactly that it’s just in the peripheries, within the confines of my room, or of the house, and even—and I apologize for how meta this might sound—of myself, that I could get back this sense of peace. In a nutshell, I just had to do three simple things: Declutter. Tidy Up. Detox.
Declutter. Because you gotta throw and burn some things.
I am a sentimental person. I have collected so much items throughout the years which I have associated to certain people, memories and experiences. The funny part is, even when those faces have turned to unfamiliar ones, and some feelings have faded away, I still hold on to these things. A note, a ticket, a photo, a name tag, among others. These memorabilia I have treasured are losing their values but I cling on to the idea of the remaining sentimentality in these items, and that’s why I still have boxes of them. Worse, tucked away in the pockets of bags, or bookmarking certain novels of the past.
And I think that’s the difficult part. When you have grown fond of having them than just having them. Of exactly unconsciously adding more value to something which has, in all its honesty, lost any sense of purpose. Not even that of recollection. Nonetheless, despite all your acknolwedgment, you hold them close. And you keep them.
But you have to make space.
You have to make some room for new things to enter your life. Not just in the figurative sense, but you do have to discard those things which no longer have any sense of purpose. Things which do not add value to your life, or even to anyone else’s. And this is where the interesting part begins.
When you declutter, do you just throw away the souvenirs of the past? Or, along with it, the people as well? And I took the time, almost 7 days, contemplating if there is any worth in burning bridges—if it’s a necessity at all. While some connections could easily be severed, there are some which are tricky. What if the loss of connection was due to time and space? Although I still get to chat with a few friends I met in France 5 years ago, and they are literally thousands of miles away. And what if one day that someone tries to reconnect because he wants to give you career opportunities, or because she has changed? What if? Tricky, right?
But I have learned over the years that while some friendships go stale, and some connections waiting to be cut, there are those where you just allow them to sit somewhere. Perhaps shelf it. Or allow the plant to blossom naturally, and make nature do its thing. No matter the decision, it’s all about making space for more people to enter your life, and change you for the better.
In the course of this Declutter. Tidy Up. Detox. week, I have resolved to cut some ties with people. Relationships too toxic, very much two-faced, and do not contribute to my well-being. It’s always important to know your limits, and up to what extent will you tolerate certain type of people. For me, I have always been religious about my limits, and if I want to keep the zen within me, then some people have to go.
Tidy Up. Because great things are coming.
A friend of mine shared part of what Marie Kondo stated in her books. Something along the lines of there is a great need to tidy up one’s things and organize everything in a manner that everything should be seen in plain sight. I definitely need to buy Kondo’s books and learn from her!!
I find that thought interesting. How each thing should be seen right in front of you, but moreso, these items should serve a certain function. A purpose. And it might go against the first idea of Declutter to an extent, but really, I think that when you have weighed which treasures to keep, they have to be placed where you could see them easily. And I think that’s the best way to give sentimentality some sort of function, and added purpose. They’re no longer something you grab from a cupboard or a cabinet, dust off, then reminisce. It becomes much more than that.
I don’t know about you but, based on my experience, sentimental items are my shots of espresso. The cans of Red Bull which give an instant jolt. They empower. Tucked away they give you tears. In broad daylight, they help you fight fears. And not to be poetic or anything, but they really do. They sincerely do.
Of course not all things could easily sit on your desk, some treasures are stil meant to be hidden. To an extent.
And because great things are coming, you have to organize all your items. Collect everything together. Organize all of it. I honestly find it difficult because of the lack of space to properly devote each category—notes, bags, past journals. But you try.
Detox. Because keeping the zen means exhaling the negativity.
A few peope have often dubbed me as overly dramatic. But when you grow up listening to the feels of Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Céline Dion, Barbara Streisand, The Corrs and ABBA, what do you do? And I think in the past few months, I could say that it’s something I have been able to work on. I thank jogging, yoga, and 10,000 steps a day. And coffee. Coffee is always a good idea.
But in the past week of doing Detox from all things negative, I could say that no feeling is better than this. Than being brave to say “no” to entertaining friends who only have upsetting news to share. I love all of you, and I will be back to being Dr. Phil by Monday. And it is also great to say “no” to pople who only freeload. Because clearly, I know my worth. And it takes guts, and much risk to disconnect temporarily. Honestly, it was difficult. But as what I have been saying since January 1, #ChooseYourself. You do you.
Because keeping the zen and being happy and peaceful attract all the good that the Universe has. Nothing is greater than starting positively. Not just optimistic. Anyone could do that. But to be positive, and cleansed from the negatives of the past, and forgiving yourself for the mistakes made, that’s something else.
Exhale the negativity, and don’t let any negatives enter. Try it. For a complete week. It does wonders.
Declutter. Tidy Up. Detox.
It has been a nice, calm week preparing for the crazy that I will be jumping into again. Excited, I am. One-hundred percent ecstatic and ready to once again wear the white hat, and stand in the sun, and be a gladiator in a suit.
Declutter. Tidy Up. Detox.
Because this time around, I know how to handle situations peacefully. And I know I will kick ass. And I know I could slay bigger dragons with my round-shaped sunnies, and awkward hair tendrils.