I know I can’t be alone in this. I have a basement full of stuff. Some of this stuff we do still use. It is down there because we don’t need to use it everyday. We have a set of shelves that house some overflow kitchen stuff. Oversized stock pot, a waffle maker, a griddle, and items like that. We also have a lot of stuff in the basement we don’t use. We hold onto it for some reason, but we don’t use it. A few years ago we cleaned some of it out. My philosophy was “if it hadn’t been used in 2-3 years, we don’t need it anymore”. It was good to declutter some. We didn’t do the job fully. It’s hard to go through your belongings and decide what to keep and what to throw out. Of course, since that time, we have accumulated more stuff…junk. I’ve tried to be more mindful of some of the things down there and bring things up from time to time to get rid of. We are far from hoarders, but I would venture a guess we are not alone in this dilemma. Our houses are only so big and can only hold so many things. Occasionally, we need to get rid of stuff that no longer serves a purpose in our lives.
Our minds are very similar to my basement. We hold onto what we need to and want to. Thinking back on memories and experiences from the past is a lot of fun. We need to go down memory lane from time to time. We also have stuff stored in our minds we need to get rid of. Stop holding onto it. We need to let go of it. We need to clear out the un-needed things in our minds from time to time. Sometimes we need to clear some of this out, as some of these held- onto-thoughts or behaviors or whatever it may be, no longer serve a purpose in our lives. Some of these things are holding us back. Some of these things are preventing us from packing in new and better thoughts, memories, and experiences.
I really struggled with getting rid of some of my old thoughts, behaviors, and experiences, and beyond. I still struggle with this today. It is all part of change being a difficult thing to swallow. It’s hard to let go of our old selves. It’s hard to let go of our old selves in order to usher in a new era. A new self.
I really struggled with this change early on. I came out of the hospital on fire, but in the back of my mind I still wondered if this is really what I wanted to do. I knew my old self really well. I was used to all the old me stuff I had stored in my basement for years.
I knew it wasn’t healthy to be the old me. I knew it then, at least after I allowed myself to recognize it, but it didn’t change the fact it could be a lot easier to just go back to the me I knew. Keep holding onto all of the old junk. Chances are I would end up piling on more junk, as my view wouldn’t have changed. I wouldn’t be making the best choices on what to hold onto and what to bring in additionally, but it would feel like the easy way out. Passive. Seems like the easy way out, but is it really? Old me wasn’t getting it done before.
Part of the reason I like to go through our stuff every now and again and get rid of things versus just holding onto everything, is peace of mind. Peace of mind versus continuing to bring in more stuff on top of the old stuff. In my mind holding onto everything and continuing to bring in more and more on top of it creates a ton of chaos. Crap everywhere. The easy lazy road is to do nothing, but then the doing nothing part starts to eat at you. All the stuff you have you do nothing about, begins to eat at you.
It can be a lot of work to go through your things and actually decide what to keep and what to get rid of. In the same breath, it can be a lot of work to go through our minds and clear out what no longer serves us and no longer serves our vision of ourselves. Our changing vision of ourselves. It is not a passive activity. It is very active. It can get tiring as it does require a bunch of work. Thankfully, it’s work you don’t have to do all by yourself. There are folks who will help us with the heavy lifting.
In the end it is worth it. In the end, when you can make sense of everything, you feel good. It’s awesome going into the basement, after getting rid of some of the junk, and actually knowing where your things are.
I could have held onto all of my old stuff. The old ways of thinking and doing things. I could have held onto it. It was tempted to hold onto it. I knew this old stuff, this old way of living. There was chaos though. To much bad was held onto and needed to be gone through. I needed to purge the negative thoughts and actions I was using in my life. Sure I could have held onto the old me. I could have not gone through what I knew I needed to go through, but what saved me from going down this path is the fact I recognized how bad I was. I recognized how off the rails I was. I recognized the current path I was on was a destructive one.
So I decided to go the active change route. I decided to go through me, my inner basement of stuff, and get rid of what I didn’t need anymore. Sure, I kept some things. You always do. You keep the good, the things you know you will use again. And yes, you hold onto some bad as well. There is always that one thing you convince yourself you may still need even though, deep down inside, you know you don’t. It’s OK though.
I had gone through my old stuff, my old life stuff and got rid of as much of the chaos as I could. I decided to let go of the old me. I am still myself, I wondered if I would be and it scared me to be honest with you, but overall I am still me. I still have my interests. I still like my old hobbies. I still like to be with my family and friends. I still like to laugh. I kept some really awesome stuff.
I no longer drink. I no longer try and do everything myself. I no longer bottle everything up until it explodes. I try and have a more positive outlook versus thinking about only the negative. I’m trying to have a better self image. I have been able to get rid of a lot of the things that hindered me in the past. Thoughts and actions that have kept me down for too long.
Of course I’ve held onto some old-me-stuff that I probably should have gotten rid of. I’m a stubborn mule after all! These are the areas I continue to work on. When it comes to the mind, some of the things you have tried to get rid of do try and creep back in. Our mind is not full of material things that once you get rid of the material things, they are gone forever. This is not how our minds work. The idea of getting rid of the old-me-stuff, is what do we do to change how you do the new-me-stuff.
I for one am glad I decided to purge the basement of my mind. I had a lot of things that needed to be gone through. I still have things I need to go through as letting go isn’t an immediate occurrence. It happens over time. It happens as we recognize new areas where we need to grow, or new areas we need to let go of. It is a process. It is an active process. It is an active process that is worthwhile putting the work into. It is us after all. We owe it to ourselves to do the work. We owe it to ourselves to get rid of the old and usher in the new and improved. Why?
Because you are worth it! Because we are worth it!
We really are worth it. There is so much good waiting for us after we decide to let go of the things that have held us back. The things that were destroying who we are…who we were.
I am still figuring it all out myself. I find myself in the basement of my mind still throwing some old stuff out. Organizing what is left. I now have a place for the new and better things I want to bring in. They now have a place. The chaos is calming. I have a long way to go, as this journey really never ends, but I am actively on this journey.
I am not where I was before. Thankfully, I recognized I needed to do something about myself and my life before the old ways of doing things consumed me forever. I am glad I decided to let go of what was holding me back from truly experiencing and truly enjoying my life!
It is OK to let go. It is not an easy thing to do. It is easy to hold onto the old us as we know how to be that person. Is it really easy though? Allow yourself to step back and truly look at yourself and where you are. Are there some aspects of our life we need to let go of? Personally, I know I am way better off for having let go and throwing some stuff out. You can be too!
You got this! We got this! Let’s keep walking this journey together!
Have a great day!
Feel free to jump over to Facebook and join the group I’ve started:
Jason Kehl’s Basement Of Jams: Rocking Mental Health
This group is meant to focus on an “everybody in” type of focus. I share my music and also this blog there amongst other things. The music I share is instrumental (I am not a singer). I try and attach a positive message to each tune. I also encourage others to share their hobbies or anything that they like to do that makes them happy. Or share anything that is working for them. A place where we can get away from things for a while. A group approach to improving each others mental health!
I’ve also started a podcast in hopes that my desire to spread mental health awareness can reach more people.
Jason Kehl’s Basement Of Jams: Rocking Mental Health
Also on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, Amazon Music, and Pandora
Please check it out and feel free to share it as well.