letting go

de·clut·ter

/ˈdēklətər/
Verb

Remove unnecessary items from (an untidy or overcrowded place)

That could include what?

  • wardrobe
  • kitchen cupboards
  • dvd collection
  • garage
  • desk

 

The list is endless.  But what about:

  • blogroll
  • Facebook “friends”
  • Christmas card list
  • to do list
  • bucket list
  • hobbies
  • tv programme must watch list
  • obligations

 

They fall into two main categories:

  • contacts
  • to do lists

I am not suggesting you cut your friends down to two, dropping all others like a rotting fish.  We have concentric circles of friends and acquaintances.  Life would be very lonely with only two close friends and no passing acquaintances, the people you meet at a party or the bus stop and can chat to without any obligation to “meet up for coffee”, yet have enough in common to genuinely be pleased to see them and pass a few minutes of your time with them.  Equally if these were the only friends you had you life would be equally lonely.

However there a some people who appear to have your best interests at heart but in all honesty drain your energy, block your movement forward and leave you frustrated, though you don’t know why.  Julia Cameron calls them the crazymakers, the people who cannot survive without a drama and usually at the expense of somebody else.  They have only one schedule, theirs; they expect special treatment (because of course they would give it to you if you needed it); they live in their reality not yours, your boundaries only count if they fall within theirs; they are expert saboteurs, the ones who plant a tiny seed of doubt “for your own good, I can see the bigger picture”.  And all the time they maintain a brilliant facade as your protector, your champion, the only one who really understands what you want to do with your life.

Let the crazymaker go.  We all have them and they are often the people we least expect.  When I gently let my crazymaker slip away after far, far, far too many years my entire family noticed the difference.  We were collectively less stressed.

Some people are perfectly lovely but were never destined to be in your life forever.  There are some people who live thousands of miles away but with whom I still keep in touch.  It may be irregular but it is genuine and we care about each other despite the distance.  There are some people to whom I am still sending Christmas cards, who live maybe 20 miles away and I haven’t seen for over 10 years.  Why am I still sending those cards?  Every year I feel immense guilt that despite the promises last year, we have not managed to find a single day out of 365 where we could spend even an afternoon together.  Isn’t that telling me something?

The energy you invest in keeping in touch with somebody with whom you no longer have a relationship is draining.  The guilt, the broken promises, sometimes made with your fingers crossed behind your back are all sucking you of energy you could spend on the people who matter to you whether they are next door or on Christmas Island.

I have friends who have bursting address books and for whom maintaining friendships with vast numbers of people is simple maybe even their lifeblood.  But if you are not that kind of person don’t beat yourself up about it, so what?  We are all different and bring different gifts to the table.

Now, whilst it is warm and sunny while the summer lies before you (sorry for my Southern Hemisphere readers, I too have lived south of the equator and used to get more than a little irritated by the sweeping seasonal generalisations made by the other side of the world) lie out in the grass and think about who you would miss if they slipped out of your life tomorrow and who you might be sorry to say goodby to, but you know you’ll feel a little lighter without the responsibility of keeping the friendship going.

Sorry no photographs today.

4 thoughts on “letting go

  1. It’s true that sometimes you need to let relationships go, for your own good (and sometimes for the good of the “crazymaker” too). Another thought-provoking post, Gillie. I’m enjoying shadowing you through this de-cluttering journey.

  2. Visiting from UBC. I was just looking at a humongous pile of paper clutter that I need to go through so your post title caught my eye! I’ve also been thinking about cleaning out my “friends” lists! And I let go of Christmas cards years ago!

  3. I have another word for crazymakers: I call them vampires, because they suck your energy. I have had to learn to say NO. Easier said than done. I am still working on it.