Sunday, 22 November 2015

Discarding old baggage ...

The Discarded Bag

Do you have one of these?  
A bag, perhaps a work bag like this one that once had a useful purpose … that you carefully chose to be just the right size, the right texture and feel, with useful sections and purpose-fit pockets for all your essential personal items like 2 x phones, travel size tissues, lipstick, pens and business cards … and of course, it had to be in your signature colour and style.

Yes, a lot of thought goes into choosing a bag like this; it’s a statement bag. It’s a style piece that says a lot, without speaking a word … part of that visual message that others pick up within 7 seconds of you walking into a room, confidently carrying it. 

And yet, as I unpacked the final box from our spare room last week, after moving to Far North Queensland six months ago, this was a ‘find’ I was really not expecting.   You see, I didn’t realize that I still had this bag … literally discarded since 2012, somewhere in the back corner of a spare wardrobe … ignored and forgotten.

As I picked it up and wiped off the exterior dust, I noticed that it was quite heavy and it still had stuff inside it, so I opened it with curiosity.  Strangely, it felt like I was opening someone else’s bag from a past era.

Pulling the items out from inside it, I smiled broadly as I realised I no longer had any personal connection with any of it.  There were:
  •   Pens … that no longer worked
  •   Notepad … full of irrelevant meeting notes
  •  Tax Return documents … from a past era
  •   Numerous receipts … from coffee and lunch meetings dated 2009-11
  •   A snaplock bag … with a few very stale almonds in it – yuk!
  •  Travel size wet-ones … no longer wet
  •  Travel size tissues … squashed beyond recognition
  •  Travel size box of tampons - ha! No need for those since a 2011 procedure ;)
  •   A lipstick in the ugliest colour brown … what was I thinking?
  •  Several rusty safety pins, and an old tarnished silver toe-ring
Oh, one more thing … a laminated government ‘Inspectors Identity Card’ from 2007, that probably should have been handed back when I closed that door behind me in 2012. This was the one item that made me realise why this bag had been discarded … never opened, never cleaned out, and never used again. You see, this was my work bag of a past life … a chapter that I chose to finish in 2012 when the role no longer matched my values … a page I was happy to turn over and have never really felt the need to re-read it.

The only reason I still had this bag is that the packers had boxed it up from its dark cupboard corner and my wonderfully efficient partner had thrown it back onto high shelves [I’m a tad height challenged], in our previous short-term abodes over the past 3 years.

So why the share? 
It’s interesting [and absolutely wonderful] how quickly we can move on, and how much we can change … to the point where there is no connection felt whatsoever to the past; like all that belonged to someone else … a different person. 

As lovely, expensive, and useful as this bag could be, I had no interest in holding on to it, so I binned all the contents and took it to the local charity shop, without any hesitation and absolutely no pangs of regret. 

For me, this bag simply represented a chapter from which I have moved on from, and as a person who sees no reason to look back … feels no value in re-visiting the past … dislikes clutter [unless it’s on my busy desk], and discards useless crap on a regular basis [charity shops love me]; I actually felt rather annoyed that I still had it! 

On reflection, out of all the bits and bobs we’ve discarded in last week’s unpack completion exercise, de-owning this bag and also de-owning several evening gowns that were worn at past government events, was the most exhilarating and cleansing experience … like a feeling of lightness, more space;  less pretentiousness, more present-ness,  and more purposeful living – in line with my personal values.

Sure … our values do change over the years; mine certainly have and I’m very grateful for that. It’s called experience, learning, and embracing continual personal growth … not being stuck in a rut … not accepting an average, ordinary life when you can choose to have an awesome one!  Isn't that something you'd like to choose too?

My challenge to you …
As we approach the New Year celebrations, what will you choose to discard, de-own, detox from your congested life … so that you can feel refreshed, spacious and open; ready to take a chance on new things that 2016 flings your way?

What are you still hanging on to? … consider what feelings you are attaching to that. Is all that stuff getting you closer to where you want to be? ... or holding you back?

Perhaps, like me, you may not even be consciously aware of the extra, unnecessary crap that’s tucked away … take the time to review your surroundings and get rid of stuff that you no longer value.

Ask yourself … “for what purpose am I needing to hold on to this?” … Then question yourself again, “Really?”

Ironically, 2012 was also when I got my favourite saying tattoo on my back, at the base of my neck … depicting a new sunrise over the waves with the words ‘Never Look Back’.  Hardly surprizing for those who know me well … as a Change Champion with an enthusiastic ‘what’s next’ attitude.  That old bag and those evening dresses definitely did not fit with ‘what’s next’ … they were ‘what’s past’ items. 

So go on ... perhaps it's time to discard YOUR old baggage. 

Embrace change … turn the pages over from the previous chapters … allow yourself to feel the excitement of a new opportunities and new adventures. 

Until next time,
Choices, Chances, Changes abound ...

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