“Rarely in our life is money a place of genuine freedom, joy, or clarity, yet we routinely allow it to dictate the terms of our lives and often to be the single most important factor in the decisions we make about work, love, family and friendship.” – from Lynne Twist’s The Soul of Money:Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life.
For me, money has always been a source of stress. I don’t think I’ve ever felt “genuine freedom” or “joy” from it. It’s been something that there never seems to be enough of no matter how much I have. It’s also something that caused me to make decisions that weren’t necessarily the ones that were going to bring me the most happiness.
When I was in college, deciding on a major, I was torn between computer science and music. At the time, a major in computer science was a guarantee for a good paying job. I was told numerous times that music wouldn’t provide work or a good paycheck, and that computer science was the better choice. While I enjoyed my computer classes, I was much more passionate about the music classes I was taking, regardless of my skill in them. I enjoyed spending hours listening to different composers or working on composition homework. Still, regardless of the passion I felt for music, I followed the money and went with computer science. I don’t regret the decision – that career allowed me to travel, take music lessons, and meet and work with wonderful people. What I do wish I had done differently is, I wish I had followed my heart’s calling and seen where it would have taken me, instead of being controlled by money.
I think the same can be said when it comes to our possessions. How much freedom and joy do our possessions really bring? Many of us work long, hard hours to maintain the things we have – working at a job we don’t love in order to live in a home and/or buy things that may or may not be a source of joy. We may collect lots of things in our homes with the fear of not having enough, holding onto things that don’t bring us joy “just in case”. Some of us may work with the goal of having things or experiences that we think are necessary to get “the best out of life” when in reality, all we need is time with those we love.
Decluttering, to me, is not only a way to bring joy into your home, it’s also a way of realizing that it’s you that has control of the things in your life. You get to choose what goes and stays, you get to decide what brings value to your life, and you can release the things that take away your joy.
Take a minute to reflect – are there things in your life that you feel you can’t let go of even though they don’t bring you joy? Do you feel that money is a controlling force in your life? How can you change that (if you want it to change)?