Day 98: Grateful or Resentful?

9,800 things gone, only 200 to go!

Grateful for this?

I have to admit, when I’m decluttering I sometimes have conversations with myself that go like this:

“I can’t believe I’m the only one who throws things out around here.”

“Do they (family) even know how much work goes into this?”

“Are they trying to torture me with all this stuff?”

“So what if it’s eggs again for dinner, at least they can open their closets.”

Back in the nineties, when I wasn’t studying or trying to achieve the waif look, I made an effort to write in my Simple Abundance, Journal of Gratitude. My apologies to Sarah Ban Breathnach for not absorbing anything from her lovely book.

Gratitude hasn’t always come easily for me.

Exactly 15 years later, I’m beginning to understand, but it took this decluttering project and a rap lyric to get through to me.

My decluttering days have been alternately effortless and a struggle. On a struggle day, K’Naan came on the radio singing about his hometown Mogadishu and thanking Africa for showing him how to give. Someone else may have felt instant gratitude not to be weathering a civil war in Somalia, but I’m pretty invested in my own misery.

It wasn’t until I heard this lyric that gratitude took hold of me:

“It’s not every day you get to give.”

So when I’m grumbling about carting 100 more things out of this house, I take a minute to think about the alternative – being someone who can’t, that same person I was only a year ago, and, for the first time in my life, I’m starting to get this gratitude thing.

What I tossed today: 75 wall decals, 10 storage bins, 1 storage rack (all listed on craigslist), misc. garbage & cardboard boxes from the office.

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8 thoughts on “Day 98: Grateful or Resentful?

  1. This is a wonderful post.

    I was thinking today, about how decluttering blogs abound, but that yours stands out because you write so well.

    I can identify with this post too. I’m dealing with a health setback right now, and finding myself doing an awful lot of taking. At the same time, I find myself begrudging some of the tidying that I do. But, little by little, especially in this time of poor health, I feel my attitude on this shifting. That quote is very apt and I will remember it.

    Good luck with day 99 and 100! Gosh!

    • Thanks Abby. I love writing this blog. Isn’t that a great quote? I have those moments when I hear a story on the news and I appreciate just how lucky I am, but I never really understood before that giving is a privilege most of us wouldn’t want taken away.
      Nothing wrong with taking, just think what a privilege it is for the people in your life to give to you. Let them, and you’ll feel much better soon.

  2. Exactly!

    You and I are very much alike. I always have to remind myself of the other side of it–the people who have nothing, yet I’m sitting here complaining about how much we have. Gratitude can be difficult when we come from such privileged societies. I hope that by forcing myself to have less, I can appreciate more. Keep it up–you’re doing great!

    And eggs for dinner–at least they are super healthy!

  3. Hey Christine:

    I seem to remember my yoga teacher saying, “cultivating gratitude is a journey, not a destination”. We’re all works in progress and it’s easy to be grateful/peaceful/joyful…when things are going well. The big challenge is to learn to cultivate these attitudes when things are not going well. You’re on a journey…and you’re moving along your path. That’s growth of the best kind :)

    • Thanks Colleen. You (and your yoga teacher) are absolutely right. I hate to say it, but, the older I get, the more grateful I become. I guess it comes from having faced more of life’s challenges and having survived them. I’m pretty darn grateful I don’t have to face the same ones twice!

  4. Declutterd a storage closet today & got rid of 2 storage containers – 1 storage container of old papers and college assignments (2004) – to burn and give away the empty storage container. The rest is Christmas stuff…so the end result: storage closet no longer “stuffed”. Tomorrow: start decluttering the paper stuff in an unused upstairs bedroom.

    • Good for you! I’m so happy that someone is decluttering while I lay here sleepless and coughing. I made a stab at the mudroom today but ended up on the couch watching Bridesmaids. I’m about to get back at it – you’ve inspired me! Let me know how you’re getting along with the paper clutter.

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