Depending on where you are at in the divorce process, you’ve likely noticed how difficult it is to move along to your new life. Letting go of old, stagnant ideas and making room for new, beautiful ones is a good place to start.
A New Year’s Eve tradition in southern Italy speaks of letting go to make room for something new. Custom dictates that individuals part with an item, usually a possession. These old items are tossed out the window, and the last day of the year is one of decluttering and releasing. Ergo, the first day of the New Year becomes the day with some freed-up space for that new end table, bookcase, or trinket.
Certainly, it must feel good to get rid of old, unwanted things. It sounds easy in terms of possessions, but in terms of releasing crippling memories and bad moods that have taken root, this is an entirely different story.
During my divorce, I had to say goodbye to my house and a few other possessions. The sound of my bread maker often sent me spiraling downward. For that was the sound of family, daily breakfasts, and the smells of home. My house had memories both good and bad that caused regression.
It was time to clean house and welcome in the New Year.
How I Said Goodbye
I wrote a letter to my house, requesting that it set me free and to serve as a reminder of the work I had ahead of me. Your letter of release will most likely look different from mine.
Dear Lovely White House on 18th Street, please do not speak to me anymore. Don’t look at me. Don’t call out to me. Tell your lovely landscaping, from the lilac bush on the corner, to the prairie grasses I planted two years ago, to avert their eyes, and turn away. I don’t belong to you anymore.
Tell your new owners to water the maple tree, and cut down the hostas, but keep the seeds, to plant in the spring. The bisque fridge should be replaced. Twenty years old, it is rather unfashionable.
The little boys are at the door, tripping on feet, running to the park. He and I are there too. Seated in the screened-in-porch, espresso in hand. I feel the presence of my former self, in the house we built. He and I, there again.
Fighting. Pleading. I’m asking him to stay. To be different. To love only me. He left.
And so must I leave the lovely, lovely white house on 18th Street, Good-bye to you. You served me well, but now, I must be free.
Entanglements come in all shapes and sizes: unhealthy thinking patterns, bread makers, bedroom furniture, Christmas tree ornaments, screened-in porches, and lovely white houses on 18th Street.
We do well to clean house and rid ourselves of unnecessary weight. Entanglements and entrapments belong in the dump!
Along the Mediterranean, in southern Italy, on New Year’s Eve, a grandmother, a son, a mother, teaches us how to do just this: toss your baggage right out the window. Let it go.
Let 2019 be a year of living lighter, replacing stagnant thoughts and bad memories with new and beautiful ones.
Paula Nilsen is an author, blogger and freelance writer. Her book Hello New Life encourages readers to move along and to find healing. She is a certified life coach, equipping people to deal with loss and to overcome adversity. When she isn’t writing, reading or studying, Paula is traveling. She especially enjoys returning to Scandinavia, where she grew up. Her two grown sons and daughter-in-love are her ballasts and the loves of her life. Learn more about her book at paulanilsen.com.