Joining Ginny today and her peeps on trail of book reviews and fiber projects we are working on.
The basic supposition of the book is —
Does it Bring You Joy?
If not, get rid of it.
I know there is a trend amongst the younger generation towards ‘simple living’ and I can see why this book would be a New York Times best seller for that group of people. However, I have lived through more seasons of life than the author and took issue with several things in this book. The bottom line is — what brings you JOY in your twenties and thirties is not necessarily what brings you JOY in your forties and fifties, sixties etc.
If you throw away the cards you have received years because they ‘served their purpose when you opened it that first time’ then you will be missing out on something that might bring JOY, encouragement and even healing when you are in your fifties. I’ve saved every Mother’s Day card that my children have sent me. Some have very tender and affectionate notes in them that actually helped me get through some rough times when a newly married daughter went ‘silent’ on me. The tender notes she wrote throughout childhood and the teenage years reminded me that the love between us was deep and I just needed to ride the storm for a while. I’m so thankful I did not throw those cards out!
The author said the same thing about books and maintained that once you have read it the book it has served its purpose and should be discarded. I am an avid reader and have painstakingly collected the classics and other ‘great books.’ The author is a reader, too but limits her books to 30 which she still thinks is too many. I don’t think she realizes that books can be a tool to forge a way to make an immediate connection to a stranger in your home when he/she stands perusing your library and a conversation begins and a bond is formed. Nor does she realize that some people collect books to decorate a home. Now I will admit that I have been convicted to take a second look at some of my college textbooks and other instructional books and I probably will discard them. And, I have also realized that I really must let go of my vast collection of cookbooks because I mostly only use a few of them consistently. But the rest…no-can-do.
Another area I contend with were photographs. I guess that is because I am a photographer. She wanted us to ‘touch’ each picture and see if it brings us JOY and if it doesn’t throw it away. She does not yet know that something happens to you when you are in the ’empty nest’ stage of life. You want to reconnect to your roots and get back in touch with friends you had in your younger years. Social media has made this a possibility and the picture in your album that might not mean much to you may bring incredible JOY to someone in your past.
Nor does she realize that the sharing of these photos through social media may bring about an opportunity to seek forgiveness of someone you once hurt or who once hurt you and that through that process a regret of thirty years is released. I am so thankful I have not thrown the pictures away that did not give me JOY. And I am even more thankful my mother has kept pictures (no matter how horrible they are) because I have had wonderful moments reminiscing. MEMORIES ARE IMPORTANT and will become even more important with each decade of your life.
Leaving on a positive note – I was able to successfully throw all my clothes into the middle of the room as she suggested and get rid of the ones that don’t give me JOY. I’m not attached to clothes so that was an easy task. I also thought the way she took shirts and rolled them up in the drawer was a good idea – that really decluttered my closet.
Lastly, the book was helpful in some ways however, I will still caution anyone who reads this to be very careful in using the mantra, “If it doesn’t bring you JOY then throw it out.” Instead, I would as you to consider the fact that you will go through ‘seasons of life’ and your JOY will mature in different ways. If you follow completely the advise of this author you just might find yourself sitting in a stark room in your senior years with no JOY and only regret.
On the knitting front –
I am trying very hard to knit down my stash this year. There is a group on Ravelry that I am participating in called SOCKS FROM STASH and February’s challenge is to knit socks from the oldest yarn in your stash. I believe the yarn I found was from my second pair of socks that I immediately ripped out because they didn’t fit and I really didn’t know at the time how to make them fit. I don’t even know what brand it is but I do know it is a faux fair isle that will be lovely knit in a plain stockinette….. I will call them my OLD JANES.