Reflection

Rummaging through artifacts
A collection of regrets
Reminders of time wasted
And chances lost
Sift out the memories
And donate them to charity
Could anyone be happy
With these castoffs?

“Surely,” you say,
“It hasn’t been all bad…”
But I never see the bright side
Only the might have
And the what if?
And I’ll go to my grave
Wishing I’d done it all differently

(The header image is one of my own paintings; an abstract I’m calling Reflection)

Cleaning and purging always feels liberating to me. Nevertheless, clearing out things I’ve collected over the years always reminds me of different paths I could have taken, different choices I should have made. And I will never, ever be one of those people who says, “Yes, but all those choices make you the person you are today.” While that is true, it also assumes that I am happy with who I am and where I ended up. I would take a do-over every single time. No question.

41 thoughts on “Reflection

  1. Wouldn’t we all like a do-over for some portion of our life? I might make you a different person, but would you be as happy? Would you be as fulfilled? We only remember the start of different path, never where it actually takes us or what the end will bring.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is true. There’s never a guarantee that any choice would have worked out better. For the present, I comfort myself by saying it’s not too late to make better decisions going forward. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a strong image, literally asked a friend today, “How do you combat stockpiling and hoarding things?”

    Is there some rule we can follow on the day to day, or is the yearly/monthly purge our best options. I feel that this habit, of mild idea and book hoarding is a pattern throughout my life. It really is pervasive, and stubbornly so.

    So I expect if I can find the rule for the easy stuff, the hard things might just get easier too?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Part of it is not being sentimental about things! About 13 years ago, we downsized to a house that would accommodate my elderly parents. It meant getting rid of 30+ boxes of books (I get the book hoarding!) But if it wasn’t going to be of use or it just wasn’t going to fit, it had to go. Now I’m preparing for another move and I have to pare it down even more. I’m going to have to be ruthless! But I believe it does get easier as you make a start!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The best thing about moving is we get to clear the clutter. The worse thing is, it’s a pain! Keep the books. I’m going back to ABE books to re-buy some of my favorites I’ve lost over the years.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m going to have to be ruthless! Fortunately, I’m not much of a collector (except for books) and I’ll just have to keep my absolute favorites! I am so glad you’re enjoying the used book store!

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    1. I’d change a bunch of big things. I’m actually so obsessive about changing things, I have a ‘timeline’ of my life along which I can point to specific instances when I should have done ‘x’ instead of ‘y’. It goes all the way back to my first day of kindergarten. I know. That’s insane but that day set the tone for my entire life in school. From that point forward, I made decisions that pleased everyone else and not me alone. Which means I really never pursued my heart’s desires. And here we are and I’m past the halfway point and I’m way behind the curve. I should practice gratitude because there are plenty of things I should be grateful for, but the negativity sometimes just blots all of that out. And I still find myself feeling guilty for trying to do some things I love. It’s a hard habit to break.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I totally get that. I do. But, at some point, you have to let go of the guilt. It’s your life. You should be allowed to pursue what makes you feel complete. Without guilt. Now, I was raised in Catholicism, so I know all about guilt. I struggle with it to this day. But dammit, I no longer feel bad for taking a paddle alone or going on a solo walk-about to photo hunt. It’s your story. Don’t let anyone write it for you. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I know…. I trying doing that cognitive behavioral therapy thing, where you write down what is true versus what you feel. It usually gets me over the hump. But I can’t ever fully shake off those feelings of regret, especially when I find myself deciding things the same old way. My stupid brain! 😠

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Not overtly. And not from H. But trying to be creative feels frivolous sometimes. Even when you’re trying to make that a source of income. So it comes in the form of offhand comments and comparisons, if you know what I mean.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I do. It’s frustrating to not have a talent acknowledged or dismissed. I get it. Feels like they don’t think you really have talent yet without actually saying as much. But you know what? It’s not about them. It’s about you. Something that feeds your soul. If they don’t like it, recognize it, or criticize it, too damn bad for them. You do you, man. “They” and their opinions don’t mean squat.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I think these sorts of feelings are partially age related. I know that when I turned 60 I felt really liberated and invigorated. I no longer had to impress, or please, other people, and felt able to do what I wanted rather than what was expected of me. I recently asked our one and only daughter if there was anything that she really wanted from what we have. The answer was, emphatically, NO. I’m OK with that, and it means I can get rid of stamp collections, coin collections, school prizes, family books, etc.
    Whether I get round to it, or not, remains to be seen. She may well end up cursing me for the clutter I’ve left behind!
    Good luck with the purge.

    Love the painting by the way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Peter. Well I hope that the coming years reinvigorate me, too! I haven’t been too much of a collector over the years. But when I do sift through my things I always end up with that ‘what might have been’ feeling. Fortunately, it will pass! Glad you liked the painting – thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love that painting! That made me want to read the post (glad I did). I am also wondering many times about the “what ifs” in my past. But then I focus forward. Getting rid of clutter is always a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Firstly, the painting is absolutely beautiful! I am glad you put it up for all to see. Secondly, whenever we do any cleaning or try removing clutter, invariably so many things pop out bringing back old memories , good and bad. Thinking of what-ifs makes you depressed and feeling worthless. Don’t make the mistake of dwelling in such negative thoughts. Past can never come back and we are supposed to learn from our past mistakes and move forward. Everything happens as per God’s will. Thirdly, the one definite thing i have learned from life is not to have expectations from anyone. It is frustrating to find that the people closest to you do not understand you or appreciate your talents. Maybe it makes them feel small in some way or envy creeps in. Human mind is very complicated to understand. Be proud of yourself and your achievements and love yourself for what you are. Life is short so make the best of it to the extent possible. Cheer up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, regarding the painting. I’ve been playing with a palette knife technique and the results are really cool!

      Oh the what-if’s really are futile, you’re right. And fortunately, I can get over it after a little while. I tell myself not to waste the time I have left – lessons learned. As for the people in my life not being supportive, no one really understands that trying to write professionally doesn’t happen over night. And if success doesn’t come quickly then I am wasting my time (or I musn’t be any good!) Anyone not acquainted with the current world of publishing just won’t get that its a marathon not a sprint! Anyway, thanks Prema! You are a ray of sunshine beaming through the clouds! 💖

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So sweet of you Meg to not take offense. After writing the above comments i really thought you may feel that i am intruding. I posted it because i know all of us are facing problems of different kinds. Besides i don’t like my friends to lose heart or feel dejected. I am no exception of course!

        Liked by 1 person

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