On the weekend, I did something new to me – I had a yard sale. Actually not on my own, but with a couple of my neighbours. Not a big deal, perhaps to many, but for me, somewhat anxiety provoking. First off, needing to go through my home and decide to rid myself of stuff. Stuff, as I’ve talked about before, carries memories and responsibilities. As a child of parents who grew up in the Great Depression, and the grandchild of prairie farmers, keeping things that are “perfectly good, just with a bit of fixing” comes naturally. I also innately attach meaning to all that I acquire, even the mistakes, so find it difficult to part with things. Secondly, worry that nobody would actually want my stuff. What if the things that have had meaning for me, are just junk to others?
Well, I learned (or relearned!) a couple of things. Letting stuff go feels good, removes the weight of clutter, much as letting go of preoccupations, worries and responsibilities for the narratives of our pasts feels good. The second learning is that neighbourhoods are important. Yes, some folks came from other parts of the city, but many of our customers were from down the street and around the corner. In the end, a day that sounded like a lot of work, was actually a day of conversations, stories and laughter. I learned a little more about the history of my neighbourhood, some personal habits and hobbies and life experiences of people I otherwise would not likely have met. They didn’t all buy from me, but most did converse, given the opportunity presented by a bunch of stuff set out on the lawn.
I realized that we often are so busy going somewhere, doing something, that we don’t pause and chat. Yes, there was a purpose and an activity of buying and selling going on, but somehow that was just in service of sharing some time amongst neighbours. Stuff was re-allocated, from my basement, bookshelves and cupboards, to the homes of people who can create new uses and memories for it. Prices didn’t in any way represent the actual value of the items, but were simply the currency of sharing and helping each other out. I feel today more a part of my community, and I am happy to know that my stuff has gone where it is needed and wanted.
I think of this blog as a way to share a little life learning, so what is my lesson for today? Have a yard sale? Well, sure, if that makes sense for you. But really, it is to take the opportunity to share a little bit of your story, your thoughts and experiences, and yes your stuff, with people around you. Stop hanging onto things that no longer serve you, including worries, unnecessary sense of responsibility for matters that are past, and enjoy the people, experiences and life in front of you right now!