I’m not a relationship expert. I got lucky in love, married for nearly 11 years to my high school sweetheart. But I do know something about certain kinds of relationships… the kinds we develop with stuff.
Some stuff is easy to part with. Freebies, for example. These are the one-night stands of stuff. That keychain from your insurance agent? You can probably toss that sucker in the trash with only a twinge of sweet regret. (It was a moment of madness when you plucked it from the dish in his office, after all…)
But other items give us pause. These are the kinds of items we’ve developed long relationships with, the kinds of items like… this piano.
I’ve had this piano for years. My parents had it before me, and my grandmother before them. This piano was a freebie (albeit, a very heavy freebie) from my mom’s sorority house when they upgraded their piano. So this big guy was rejected by an entire houseful of sorority sisters in the 1960s, and I’ve let him sit around my house for the last decade… he had definitely outworn his welcome.
But until recently, I just couldn’t bring myself to have that awkward, “It’s not you, it’s me” conversation. Why? Let’s take a trip through my psyche…
Reason #1: I can play this piano. The key word there is can. As Yoda would say, Do or do not, there is no can. (So that quote may not be exact, but I still earned major points from my husband for attempting to quote Star Wars.) Yes, I can play this piano. But do I? Not so much. When faced with a rare and exotic moment of free time, I usually choose to work out or read a book. We are all only given so much time in life and we get to choose how to spend that precious time. I just don’t choose to play the piano. And that’s okay.
Reason #2: My kids might want to play this piano. The key word there is might. As every kid who ever took piano lessons in the history of the world would say, But I don’t wanna practice!!! I have no guarantees that my kids will ever want to play this piano, and keeping it for that future possibility is like keeping a trapeze in my backyard in the hopes that one of my kids will want to be an acrobat. (Note: I’m sure, given the suggestion that acrobatics is a future career possibility, my kids would immediately commence high-pressure trapeze requests.) I plan to nudge any budding musicians in my household to seek flutes, trumpets, violins, and the like. All these instruments are portable yet still quench the musical thirst. And if my kids insist on playing the piano, I will count on good karma to bring another free piano into my path.
I initiated the good karma last Tuesday, when I snapped a picture of the piano and posted it for free on my moms group Facebook page. Within 10 minutes, one lucky lady had herself a new piano and I had this… empty space.
At first, I struggled with urge to rebound. If you’ve ever gotten out of a long relationship, you know what I mean. I need something, anything, to fill this empty space! I considered cruising the scene at local piano bars or seeking lonely pianos online (Pianomatch.com, anyone?). But I stayed true to my minimalist ideals and allowed the space to just be. And after awhile, it didn’t seem so empty. And soon after that, I started to like it.
I was free.
Is there a stuff relationship in your life that is going nowhere? Are you holding on to things that no longer reflect how you choose to spend your time? Are you keeping things because you hope they will become useful in the future?
We all know this, but it bears repeating: We do not live in the past or the future. We live now.
I urge you to let go of stuff relationships that are holding you back from enjoying the present moments of your life. Take the plunge, make a clean break, and open up the beautiful possibilities of open space…