Friday, October 31, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

It’s that time of year when you need to let go of things

DebraDeAngeloW

By
From page A13 | December 29, 2013 |

It’s that lame-duck time of year. Christmas is over, the new year is yet to begin, and there are still piles of wrapping paper and empty boxes to pick up — and the recycling bin is conveniently stuffed to the hilt, so the piles will remain as testament to my lack of energy at this time of year.

Evidence of precious time with loved ones dot the house — extra blankets here, a left-behind sock there, an abundance of towels in the laundry pile. That makes it difficult to dive in and undeck the halls. So I won’t. I’ll deal with it next year, which, of course, is staring me right in the face.

I’m not ready to face a new year.

Or, maybe I’m too ready.

It changes from moment to moment.

As the new year approaches, I feel compelled to get rid of things — an impulse that horrifies my inner hoarder. I still have blue jeans from high school that will never, ever fit me again, and jars of spices three years out of date, and baubles and trinkets and whatnot (lots of whatnot) that I can’t seem to discard. I pick something up, and it reignites the memory attached to it (faded blues/nostalgia) or the plans I had for it (gingerbread/hope) or simple clinging (could it be Christmas just one more day), and the real, imaginary or symbolic value makes me stuff it back in a drawer again.

I still have jars with my kids’ baby teeth in them, people.

Oh, it’s much worse than that.

I have a jar with my own.

And then I married someone with his own collections of junk that are meaningful only to him and look like garbage to everyone else. Just try to set a spoon down anywhere in our house without having to stack something else. Just try.

It’s hit critical mass. My house, my life, and my head need de-cluttering.

The first step is awareness, right?

Wait, no.

Step One: Admitted we were powerless over clutter; that our lives had become unmanageable.

So, that’s my plan for 2014. Letting go of internal and external clutter. What things aren’t serving me well? What things can I, albeit reluctantly, pry my physical or symbolic fingers from and discard? To do it all at once is overwhelming and psychologically impossible. So, I have a strategy: get rid of just one thing each day that A) no longer serves me well or B) causes me active distress or C) is merely taking up space and compounding the “critical mass” issue.

Just one thing. And, even a tiny thing will count. Like my daughter’s dried-out felt pens, that remind me of her back in high school, in braces and pajama pants, concentrating on her drawing. When I see the pens, I see her. Throwing them all out at once feels like throwing away the memory. So, maybe one pen at a time. Maybe one pen cap at a time. It will still count.

Professional organizers insist that you can hold on to memories, and let go of the things. This is only partially true. It assumes that you can remember anything you want, any time you want, and easily call up any memories on demand. At 54, that’s an awfully big “given.” Past 50, your brain doesn’t just spontaneously generate cherished memories. I mean, how do you even know what you want to remember? When you pick up your son’s baby shoes, see your husband’s handwriting scrawled across an empty red envelope that once held a sweet, sentimental Valentine — that’s when the memory pops up.

If I discard these things, will I ever remember to remember them again? Clearly, I’m already forgetting some things, in contrast to my children, who have total recall of my every shortcoming. Who is this whackjob B-list mother of whom they speak? My memory is that, all things considered, I did a pretty decent job. I most certainly did a better job than my own parents. A quantum leap better. I’m also certain that I did the best I could with the abilities I had at that moment in time. Trouble is, your best can fall short in someone else’s eyes.

Regrets… I have a few…

Sing it again, Frank.

But… regret no longer serves me well and actively causes me distress and is merely taking up space and compounding the critical mass of crap inside my head. I want to discard regret, but it’s a little trickier than tossing out felt pens.

I know that the first step of regret is giving yourself a break for your shortcomings — reminding yourself that, OK, although it was a great effort, sometimes in life, the effort/result ratio is less than optimal. This is a fact. I could try and try and try to be a ballerina or a mathematician or an opera singer, and the effort will always outweigh the result on a massive scale. It just ain’t gonna happen. I recognize that going forward. But recognizing it in reverse still pinches.

Maybe you have to acknowledge your shortcomings before you can forgive yourself for them. So, here goes:

Dear kids, I regret my parental shortcomings more than you could possibly know (until you have children of your own). I wish I could have a do-over, and go back and right every single wrong, and whisk away every tear. But I can’t. I can only go forward and do the best I can do, with the abilities I have, at this moment in time.

Regret. It’s a tether that keeps you looking backwards instead of forwards. It keeps my eyes on the rearview mirror instead of the road ahead. I need to let go of it.

I’ll start with felt pens. Baby steps, people, baby steps.

— Email Debra DeAngelo at debra@wintersexpress.com; read more of her work at www.wintersexpress.com and www.ipinionsyndicate.com

Comments

comments

Debra DeAngelo

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Gardner guilty of murder, with special circumstances

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    State superintendent makes campaign stop in Davis

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    State races test one-party rule

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A2

    Meet Poppenga at Saturday reception

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Bob Dunning: Lawn display causes a theological crisis

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    Couple killed in Yolo County crash

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

     
    Same-party races challenge incumbents

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Indians celebrate Diwali with gala on Sunday

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Rairdan dinged for late report

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

     
    Veterans will tailgate at ‘Salute to Heroes’ game

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Wolk hailed for environmental votes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Yamada honored for leadership on aging issues

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Embroidery group meets at mall

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Bones for Life classes offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Bet Haverim will hear Israel update

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Local artisans featured at holiday craft fair

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Got bikes? Donate ‘em!

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Kids walk for friends at Birch Lane

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Explorit: Creep out with some spooky science

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4

     
    Shambhala offers Tai Chi class

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Enjoy wine, music and art at Sunday fundraiser for DHS choir

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Forum

    New-school cheating on the smartphone

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    My choices on Tuesday

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Garamendi, Dodd get my votes

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

     
    High hopes for Sunder

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Public service is in her heart

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    A calm, thoughtful voice

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Sunder is a perfect fit

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Best predictor is past behavior

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Vote for students, with Tuck

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Sports

    DHS plays undefeated Pacers Friday night

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

     
    Blue Devil girls net an easy win at Grant

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie offense A-OK; now what about defense?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    In Davis, rugby is as American as apple pie

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
     
    Niemi’s 43 saves aren’t enough in loss to Wild

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

     
    Calling all artists for upcoming show

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

    ‘Birdman': A dark comedy that soars

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A11

     
    DHS Madrigals host singing workshop

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12

     
    Marcia Ball to play at The Palms

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A12 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Big, capable luxury defines Yukon

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Joseph Francis Gray

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, October 31, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER2

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER3

    RE/Max Gold

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER4

    Kim Eichorn

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER5

    Susan von Geldern

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Team Traverso

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Yolo FCU

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Juan Ramirez

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER6

    Tracy Harris

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER7

    Susan von Geldern

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER7

    Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER8

    Julie Leonard

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER8

    Joe Kaplan

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER9

    Melrina A Maggiora

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER9

    Coldwell Banker

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER10

    Leslie Blevins

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER12

    Julie Partain

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER12

    Robin Garland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

    Jamie Madison

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

    Diane Lardelli

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER13

    Karen Waggoner

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

    Jamie Madison & Associates

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

    Lisa Haass

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER14

    Ciana Wallace

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER15

    Travis Credit Union

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER16

    Malek Baroody

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER17

    Marcelo Campos

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER18

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER20