It’s such an interesting concept, the aspirational life. But we are all guilty of it in one way or another – buying fancy kitchenware because we are the next Jamie Oliver (in our heads), or keeping clothing for when we are skinnier, or for that cocktail party that we are never invited to.
The concept is really clearly outlined in “The Joy of Less”… I thought I’d mentioned this book by Francine Jay before, but it doesn’t appear so. Of all the books and websites around on de-cluttering and freeing your life, this one has had the most profound impact on me. As I currently spend so much time at home, due to being ill pretty well every single day, I am looking around myself with new eyes. Eyes that are accepting our new limitations on our lifestyle. Eyes that are realistic about what we will, and won’t ever do. Especially with the boys growing through teenagerhood and looking to adulthood. Especially with the fact that the medical profession has rolled it’s last dice for me, and the reality is that my life may never ever be ‘normal’ again.
Those enormous tupperware cake carriers? I haven’t used them in years, we just don’t have a need for them. We don’t go to those sorts of occasions, or if we do, it’s just as likely we will have to take something already made because I’m using all my spoons for the event, not the preparation. (for more understanding, read the spoon theory of chronic illness). That lovely string market bag? Although I love the idea of the Saturday Farmers Market, my reality is that it’s the first day of the week that I get to rest in bed. I don’t have to get up and go anywhere, and I’m often paying a big bill from the previous 5 days household activities. So no, I haven’t been there for years.
So the list goes on. It’s remarkable that instead of creating a feeling of angst, tension or frustration, the acceptance is quite soothing. It’s as if these imaginary people that we are, actually put on us a real pressure to live up to something. A pressure that is subtly felt, every time we look at that item and think about how we should be using it. My acceptance that this is an imaginary life, and letting go of that expectation is a release of that pressure.
Sometimes these changes, as in my case, are out of our control. Sometimes it’s just that we have grown, and shifted, and moved on from our obsession with fashion, or craft, or music. But the tangible evidence is left behind. It builds up and drags on us like an anchor, weighing us down with where we’ve been and who we once were.
But it’s never too late to show those lives the door, and to free ourselves to really live.