I was the girl who spent hours of her life cleaning, sorting, and rearranging. Everything in little boxes, labeled and neatly displayed, placed back on the shelf, in the drawer, or corner of the closet, knowing I’d be pulling it out again the next season, and doing the same thing all over again.
Such mindless activities. Such wasted moments. I wish I had those hours back. But they are gone, swept beneath a rug, placed in a box, tossed in the corner of some unforeseen dump.
I look back and wonder if my time was invested wisely. I’m thinking not. Because things don’t matter. They are just possessions that one day will fade away.
I think of the time I gave up talking to a friend on the phone, playing a game with a child, watching a movie with a spouse. Hours I stayed up late, just to sort and re-sort, and sort again.
But if anything good has arrived from all the needless cleaning and caring of material possessions, it is this: I learned how precious each moment of life is.
I’ve learned that twice now. The first time was after my brain injury. Trauma does that, makes you look at life like you’d never seen it before. Makes you realize how incredibly fragile breath is.
Trauma also made me see how little I needed, and that ‘things’ are just ‘things,’ and nothing but life itself matters.
After my injury, I gave away thousands of dollars’ worth of stuff. My husband did as well. Our lives changed. We changed.
No longer do we spend endless hours cleaning a garage, or pulling junk out of one box just to put it in another. No longer do we drag containers throughout our home.
Time is measured differently now, by walks in the park, outings to the sea, sipping tea after a meal, talking to one another. Time is invested in us, not our things.
I’d like to say I’m over possessions, but truth is, I’m just one step away from being sucked in by the glitter and glitz. Tempted to purchase more than I need. Longing for something new. Wanting. And wanting. And wanting.
But then I remember how I used to be. All the hours I lost, all the time wasted. And I never want to be that girl again.