There are things that matter, and things that don’t.
Like the things you see below in this photo.
This jumbled mess of precious mementos and impulse purchases.
You see, there are 6 necklaces here: 2 of which matter, and 4 of which don’t. We can view them as symbols of the many things sitting in my house right now – the handbags, the t-shirts, the books, the craft supplies, and the photos. I’m sitting here trying to untangle it all to get to what matters. I’m finally ready to say goodbye to those that don’t.This is more than minimalism, decluttering, or Konmari-methoding. This is a soul thing.
Whenever we face the messes we’ve accumulated, we’re forced to evaluate questions like What matters? and What was a mistake? Now, don’t get me wrong. “Mistakes” have nothing to do with cost or quality, but with intention. Did we buy that trendy necklace because we love it, or because we wanted to fit in? Have we invested our time in people and relationships because they are meaningful and true, or because we’re trying to impress someone or get closer to a goal or lifestyle we’re trying to attain? Are we working overtime because we care, or because we think we should?What are the things that matter to you? And what are the things that don’t?
When we start looking, we realize that there are so many of these things that matter around our homes and in our lives – things we didn’t ask for, things we didn’t expect, things that draw our hearts nearer to a moment or a place in time. And yet there are so many more things that just don’t – things on which we impose some sort of meaning to justify their acquisition in a moment of weakness. Things we bought only because they were on sale, because we needed a pick-me-up, because we wanted something that might make us feel new. There are things that matter all around us. And yet, so often they get tangled with the things that don’t. We forget to cherish them. We risk losing them. All because we decided to trade their value in for something new. Something shiny. Something that promised us a glamorous revolution towards new identity and purpose.
Personally, I have a bad habit of buying jewelry that I can easily ascribe some meaning to. Rings stamped with words like “joy” or “gratitude;” necklaces with stones promising healing or confidence. Each time, I make some sort of promise to myself: “This is it, Heather. This is the ring, the necklace, the statement bracelet that will change you, that will instill good vibes and make you feel complete.”
Three months later it’s been replaced, lost, forgotten, or rejected. Can you relate? It’s when that ‘new’ wears off that I find myself returning to the same old things I’ve loved for years. The things that make me whole. The things that matter.
I’ve never put words to it before – words like matter and don’t. I’ve always blamed trend, brand, or my multi-versed personality. I’ve always accepted it. I’ve always let the piles grow. Through these excuses, I’ve lost the things that matter amidst the things that don’t.
But it was never the something new that I needed. It was remembering to embrace the something old.
As I untangle these necklaces, I make a promise to myself once again. Only the things that matter. Just get rid of the things that don’t.But that’s the hardest part, isn’t it? Facing our mistakes. Coming face-to-face with the cluttered and misguided reality that we’ve created? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. How often have we all fell prey to false advertising, to influencers promising quick fixes, to the simple need to possess something new? What’s Simple + Good lies in knowing that the things that matter are those that come with their own meaning, not the things that we’ve forced ourselves to instill meaning within.
Items worn by my mother, by my grandmother, by my aunt; gifts given by my fiance; tokens brought from Japan by my brother – these are the things that matter.
Impulse purchases bought at the mall on a rainy day, trendy designs, things stamped with words and false intentions of confidence – these are the things that don’t. These are the things I’ve fooled myself into believing; that a thing can fulfill me, that a thing can heal.
I know that I’ll forget this one day. I know I’ll be tempted by the glitter, the sultry lure of something shiny. It’s hard to throw away the “things that don’t,” the things I wanted, the things I “needed.” I can probably sell them on eBay for pennies, these things that don’t matter. These things that don’t last. But I can hang my head in regret and twirl my fingers around the things that do. I can still change. I can still learn.