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January 24, 2008

New Yearís Musings

Patricia A. Kelly

The New Year has come again. Iím happy for that. For me, this time of year is for contemplation and re-organization. After racing around for the holidays, Iím very happy to be at home in silence, with just Tinker Belle to keep me company.

Iím grateful that Iíve had the opportunity to write for, and I plan to continue. Only this year my period of contemplation has been much deeper and longer than usual. As I reflect on my life, I find myself wondering if I have anything of value to say.

I took a leave of absence from The Tentacle at the end of last year to help my mom downsize and move into a condo. Iíve been working hard at helping her sort through a house full of memories. Our mantras now are:

I see an object, not the face of my grandmother using it. Keeping it will not bring my grandmother back. This object does not own me, and has no intrinsic right to be with me. That an object is pretty doesnít mean I need to own it.

I think itís working. I hope itís working. I am downsizing, too. My daughtersí move out of state last year awakened me to the fact that my children will not want all of my objects. I have been giving some family things to other relatives, as well as to my children.

I have been holding onto so many things! Itís time for me to have some space and a house that looks like me. Itís time for others to have the opportunity to share guardianship of family memories.

Itís liberating to begin to free up some space. Itís an opportunity for me to expand my life as I simplify my surroundings.

As I sort through possessions and find the World War II Air Corps cooking pot that my dad used for chilling beer, I want to cling to it. That part of my life seemed to be forever, but dad is gone, and someday I will be, too.

Iíve been looking at other things, too, and have noticed that the people of the generation ahead of me are walking quite slowly, a little stooped, their skin translucent, eyebrows invisible. My peers are developing diseases of aging. I have a sudden vision of life as a gust of wind, not the permanent foreverness that I always felt.

Itís not easy to accept, although I know itís the right thing to do. Itís not forever. Itís a life, but only one. Itís not too serious, neither it nor acquisition. Hallelujah! That leaves room to play.

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