Letting Go Is Hard

When I quit my job in 2013 to take my freelance side hustle full-time, I ordered a Cheryl Strayed mug in celebration. I was going to be a full-time freelance writer and I already had a list of publications I was going to write for. Not that those publications knew of their luck, but I had a list nonetheless. And a copy of The Canadian Press Stylebook, so what could go wrong? 


The mug arrived in the mail in about 37 pieces. At first I thought it meant that I should not quit my job, but since I had already given my notice I glued the mug back together while listening to Counting Stars by OneRepublic and called it a triumph of the spirit. For almost seven years I worked as a freelancer, but did very little of the writing I had set out to do. I wrote lots of copy and advertorials, but only a few of the stories I wanted to see printed in magazines. I don't think that's due to not recognizing the message from the universe in the broken mug, but more to being offered well-paying gigs for something I knew how to do and just rolling with it.


Today, as I started tearing my office apart {Week 1 of 10} to minimize all our belongings for our move to the BC backcountry, I held the mug - which has been sitting in a closet for the last seven years - with mixed feelings.



I never drank out of it for obvious reasons, but throwing it out seemed like it could mean bad luck. Over the years, I held onto many things that seemed in some way symbolic, connected to milestones and other memories. And this mug? Was the symbol of my freelance career! Except, that it isn't and never really was. Because my freelance career changed many times over the years and I've always been quick to adapt and elevate my business. The mug was a celebratory gift to myself and while it may have given me reassurance at the time, I was the one who put in the work and made the decisions that grew my business. 


The mug didn't make the cut this time but it made me realize that minimizing is just as much about letting go of beliefs that no longer serve you than it is about purging belongings. As I go through every single item I own, I know there will be many times I'll pause and remember what it meant to me. Some things will make the cut, and some won't. Some will have to be looked at ten times before I decide. And that's all ok because letting go is hard and you have to do it at your own pace and decide which belongings and beliefs are worth holding onto.


Before the purge. Yes, that's a poop emoji on the top shelf. Don't ask.
Before the purge. Yes, that's a poop emoji on the top shelf. Don't ask.

Another thing I realized since getting started on minimizing {so, like two days ago} is that I need a plan. I thought I was just going to wing it and let each week unfold as it does and roll with it. {You know, something I have *never* done in my business.} At the end of Day 1 I was already an overwhelmed, nervous wreck. I'm not sure why I thought this was going to fly, but I'm glad I quickly realized that it won't. So I'm sitting down with my trusted wall calendar to make a plan.


I know we'll be moving on August 31, after moving our youngest to his college dorm on August 30th. That's 10 weeks! When I make a game plan for any business goals, I always start at the end and work my way backwards. {This works for any goal, not just business-related.} I already know what the goal is - minimizing and moving - and I know how much time we have. I made a list of rooms I need to deal with and sorted them by frequency of use. The kitchen will be last, because we're still using that every day. The basement storage room will be first because we're not using what's in there.


Once I fill my game plan with the to-do lists for every room in the house {why are there so many rooms?!?} I will add in additional to-dos like address changes, dealing with insurance, work and project commitments, appointments, and knitting {scheduled knitting is a thing, right?}. That'll give me both an overview of the total workload and enable me to say yes or no to anything additional that's coming up {because there is always something additional that comes up}.