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Moving Past Last Year

Daron Dickens
Daron Dickens Tuesday January 3, 2017
<? echo $type; ?> Moving Past Last Year

Everything must go clearance sale! Those are marvelous words to this deal enthusiast. I’m a person who loves a deal, and there’s no better time than the end of year sales going on in stores all over the US. To walk into a store buying the things that I would’ve bought any other time of the year for about 50 percent less is a blessed thing for me. If you think about it, it’s a win-win for everybody. I get the goods I needed already for a lower price and they get to unload the stockpile of goods they had from the year before and move cleanly, without baggage, into the coming year.

This, of course, would actually be problematic for me if I was just storing more stuff in my house. To take their baggage and add it to my baggage would not be a very joy-inducing endeavor. So, before I go in and get a great deal on the things that I need I must sort through the things I already have and let go of the stockpile of goods that I have stored up that I no longer need.

Most of us agree that this process is desirable. Most of us would agree that simplifying our lives, especially when it comes to unwanted baggage, is something that is beneficial. Unfortunately, it’s something that a lot of us struggle to do. We worry that we might need something later, or it might disrespect those who gave it to us, or there might be a cost to letting things go. I can tell you now there is a cost, and yet it’s not that simple. If you think about it, that’s exactly what happens with the stores that allowed this process to happen in the first place. The stores are agreeing to lose something in order to gain something. They lose the money that they might have been able to get for certain goods in order to be able to clear it off their shelves and start clean and fresh. They look forward to the new year of sales rather than lamenting on what could or might have happened in the past year.

The secret is filtering out the things that are not needed and replacing them with things that are both beneficial and will serve you in the future. I just recently got rid of four pairs of jeans that I was just hanging onto. They did not fit right or had holes in the knees. However, what if I needed them for a special project? I didn’t have them very long; will it be a waste if I get rid of them? What if I wore every other pair of jeans and was unable to wash and was super excited to find that I kept this reserve pair of jeans? As I’m writing it out it sounds ridiculous but that’s exactly what we often do. We fill up our space with things we don’t need and sometimes that prevents us from moving forward cleanly, causing us to amass baggage that keeps us from having room for the things that will be beneficial.

Here’s the thing, although I’ve been talking about sales and the things that clutter our house the main thing that we do this with isn’t stuff but thoughts, feelings and emotions. As we move into this New Year, many of us are carrying unneeded, cluttering baggage into the new year. Thoughts of failure, or heartache, or missed opportunities will carry into the new year that could be filled with new opportunities to create beneficial and healthy experiences. Weighed down by this old baggage we will be less aware and less willing to open ourselves up. Often we will be too cluttered in our heads to be able to allow anything needed into our headspace.

Am I suggesting that you put everything from the past in a nice little box and send it to the mental landfill? No way! I’m saying that we need to filter. We need to be able to enter this new year going through a mental, emotional, and psychological house cleaning. We need to identify the things from this past year that will not benefit us in the future or that we cannot learn from and let those go. We need to make room for and even look for opportunities to experience the same scenarios we experienced in the year before. Rather than dwelling on, worrying, or avoiding because of what happened, we need to let go of the baggage in order to move forward. Just like those stores, we need to clear space even if it means losing what could’ve been in order to gain what could be. How’s that for a deal?

Daron Dickens serves as a marriage and family therapist in Clarksville, Tennessee, where he lives with his wife, Margaret, and his two kids, Truman and Carter. He also served as a pastor for over 20 years. He loves reading, all things baseball and the heavenly blessing of coffee.