I recently watched Doris, the Sally Field movie where she plays a quirky, colorful older woman who’s “stuck” in a few areas of her life and latches her Velcro affections onto a much younger man.
The flick took a darker turn than the previews had hinted at. It was strange to go from love to curious like to dislike to tolerant understanding of a main character. The arc felt backward and somewhat sad.
What I gleaned as the takeaway of Doris: We can avoid the truly meaningful aspects of living by getting too attached to and buried under our “stuff.”
Whether physical stuff or psychological stuff, it still piles up and boxes us in if we don’t deal with it.
I’m excessively tidy. I’ll not make light of those who struggle with OCD by throwing out the “I’m SO OCD about cleaning” (though I suspect that if there’s a spectrum, I’m on it.) I drive myself crazy sometimes with my inability to relax if I see dust-tufts under the chair across the room.
I’m the person who gets comments like, “You make me feel bad about my house.” “You make me feel like a slacker.” “Why do you have to make it so perfect in here all the time?”
“If this is how clean your house always is, I’m going to have to rethink our friendship.”
People have told me that my home is so warm, inviting, and pleasant to be in. (Even teen boys who are walking combos of sweat, puppy, dirty socks and obliviousness!) I do glow at the compliment and I pride myself on engaging every sense and giving off a certain “vibe” in my house but that’s not really why it’s so clean.
It’s this way because I literally can’t let it be dirty.
It’s this way because I’ve learned to manage my anxiety by managing my surroundings. It feels like my house is the only thing in this unpredictable, messy life that I can control.
Doris was a hoarder. Seems her mother indoctrinated her into this lifestyle and it stuck. What Doris was holding on to prohibited her from letting go in ways she needed to in order to move forward.
Have you ever known a hoarder? I honestly haven’t. That’s a psychological pile of used yogurt containers that I don’t know enough about to speculate on.
I think I know stockpilers.
I call it “Someday stockpiling” It’s the compulsion to acquire because something’s on sale or you have a killer coupon or it might be useful someday.
You know…someday…when you get around to it. If it’s not buried under two dozen pillow forms, a case of white cannellini beans, and a box of duct tape in every-color-of-the-rainbow plus camo.
I suspect stockpiling is the baby sister of hoarding. Hoarding-lite, if you will.
When you spend more time “hunting and gathering” supplies for a hobby or activity than actually doing the activity, then Someday Stockpiling has stolen from your joy.
When your sewing room starts looking like the Room of Requirement, then you’ll likely feel overwhelmed rather than inspired every time you step in there.
Someday can be a dirty word if we use it to delay or entomb our happiness.
I don’t pretend to know the answer to this but I do know that I’d rather collect memories and experiences. I do know that whenever I let go of excess in my spaces, I feel better, clearer, and freer.
Life energy flows better when we’re focused on what we’re giving out rather than what we’re taking in.
There’s something you’re supposed to be doing with all that time, money, and freaking glittery talent that will make the world a lovelier place.
I promise you, you have enough already. So, get to it.