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The Third Resolution

by Roberta McReynolds

It sounds so purposeful to interject into conversation that someone is participating in that almost righteous rite called Spring Cleaning. Following on the heels of New Year’s resolutions (yes, that was a mere three months ago), I wonder if scrubbing and organizing is a way to redeem ourselves for straying from promises made in the dead of winter.

Who’s idea was it to select January 1st to begin life changes? I have little motivation to exercise while wearing two thick layers of clothing plus gloves and hat. And that’s my indoor attire! The very idea of dieting is ridiculous when my body argues that it requires several hearty, calorie-laden meals daily to survive the daylight shortened season. I can’t think of a worse time to attempt to alter old habits and routines.

If we must have a date for resolutions, the first day of spring is clearly a better choice. It’s part of a natural cycle for women to emerge from winter energized and ready to move mountains. Okay, if not mountains, then at least tackling the junk drawer and linen closet.

My motivation has been given an extra boost this year. An elderly family member has decided to move from her current abode in a senior living community to a smaller (much smaller) studio apartment. I would like nothing more than to report she is down-sizing, but she is a pack-rat and has the notion firmly planted in her head that despite the drastically reduced area, everything will magically fit. But that’s fuel for another story.

The real affect on me has been the uneasy recognition that, I too, tend to hoard and stash things in my own living space. Collections haven’t yet taken over to the point where they threaten to dictate how I live, though. I can walk unimpeded from room to room and guests have no trouble locating clutter-free surfaces intended for sitting. But I get scared when I dare to project myself into the future and imagine what another 20-30 years may bring inside the walls of my home if I do not set up some safeguards and boundaries before it’s too late.

My primary First Day of Spring resolution is straightforward and designed to at least keep things from getting worse: for every item that I have decided I must bring home, something of equal or larger size must go.

Discounts and coupons for supplies to fuel my addiction to a wide variety of hobbies is a huge pitfall to sanity and reason. It’s a dilemma to score a terrific deal on acrylic paints, only to have that elation tainted with the knowledge I need to clear something else out to maintain equilibrium. Do I really need that winter coat anymore? After all, it is spring!

My second resolution concerns itself with the same general problem of too much stuff and sentimental attachment to same. Stuff from my parents’ estate. Stuff passed on from grandparents, aunts and uncles. Generations of things nobody wants any more, or have outlived, landing at my doorstep with the expectation that I, a daughter of this ancient clan of savers, will have the same spark somewhere in my genetic makeup. And, oh yes, it’s definitely there.

Make no mistake; I’m not talking about priceless antiques. My inheritance includes boxes of empty wooden spools, bottle openers and cheap paper fans. They also came with lectures regarding the collectability and value of these eclectic items and to whom they once belonged. Hence, I suffer unreasonable guilt each time I consider unburdening my existence. I cling to the notion a member of the next generation will truly appreciate being the proud owner of a necklace my mother’s best friend made out of paper clips and shelf paper over 42 years ago.

Page Two of The Third Resolution>>

©2007 Roberta McReynolds for SeniorWomenWeb
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