Last week, I wrote about closing out at the end of the year so I can start fresh in the new one. I think it’s important to clear out the old and make room for the new on a regular basis, even when the “old” and “new” aren’t physical things. And as I look back this past year — and the past few years — there are a number of things I’m grateful to have removed from my life (or, at least, begun to remove from my life).
I would like to note that none of these things are people, and most of them aren’t tangible objects. But they still carry weight, especially when combined. So it’s been very freeing to make active efforts to clean them out of my life.
And, as a second note, removing these things is a lifelong journey. I don’t think I’ll ever reach a point where I’m completely rid of them all. But, as I continue to actively work at reducing their presence in my life, I do notice a substantial difference.
Without further ado, here are four things I’m grateful are no longer in my life.
1. A need to hold onto “things” that I don’t actually want or need.
For many years, I was definitely one of those people who held onto objects longer than I should have, even when those objects weren’t things I liked or used. Learning to move on, let go, and remove unwanted objects from my space has had a very positive impact on both my physical space and my mental clarity.
Conversely, whenever my mental clarity starts to get cluttered up again, I find myself slipping back into old habits of not letting go or clearing out as frequently. Which, now that I’m aware of it, serves as a good reminder to myself to prioritize removing clutter both physically and mentally.
2. The idea that I can (or should) “arrive” at perfection
In theory, it’s nice to think that I will someday have it all together, and arrive at a place of full understanding about how the world works. But thinking this way also produces a lot of anxiety and discouragement, because it simply isn’t true.
Letting myself be okay with not knowing, not getting everything just right, and never coming to a place where I have nothing left to learn has been a huge part of my growth over the past few years.
3. A Misunderstanding of My Productive Hours
For much of my life, I was a night owl. I preferred to stay up late into the night and sleep until almost noon. And, in theory, there’s nothing wrong with that. Except I realized that those late-night hours weren’t hours when I felt creative or focused, they were hours when I only felt like resting — reading for fun, watching TV, etc.
Once I started going to bed and getting up earlier I found that my brain functions best for creative-type work in those morning hours that I was constantly missing. Do I get up at 5:00 am? No. But I have been able to structure my workdays so that I can take advantage of my best working hours.
4. Unwillingness To Enforce My Own Boundaries
I’ve mentioned before that I’m very much a recovering people-pleaser. Whether I admitted it to myself or not, I had a deeply ingrained belief that setting and upholding certain boundaries would make me self-centered and unkind. After all, I was supposed to help others, not close myself off from them.
Instead, I’ve learned that boundaries are a way of being kind both to myself and to others. Boundaries set reasonable expectations, which shows respect for all parties involved. Furthermore, upholding boundaries enables me to give others my actual best, because they allow me space to recharge and be at my best instead of constantly running on empty.
Although this list of things I’m grateful to be clearing out is short, it represents a lot of work, learning, and growth that I’ve undergone over several years. And I think that’s why I’m so grateful to look back on it — because I can see how far I’ve come, even though I know there’s still a lot of work and learning to do in the future.
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