My 34th birthday was this week.
I admit that I generally don’t do well with this day. Birthdays have led to breakdowns fueled by all the emotions that come with seeing those digits grow another year.
It forces contemplation on life, on another year past.
My biological clock quivers at how close I am getting to 35: the age that’s been drilled into my head as the time when fertility declines and it becomes harder and harder to naturally conceive a child.
And still childless.
The fertility topic is to blame for much of the sadness in recent birthday years. This mixes with the emotions of the holidays and the quiet desire to grow our family as we watch others around us.
I believe that I reached a pivotal point this past year directed more towards acceptance that I may never bear a child. I’ve tried to re-direct my thinking to a different, childless life.
There are times when I am alright with this. I appreciate my freedom. My sleep. My sanity.
Then the Johnson and Johnson commercial comes on and shows the first time father bathing his newborn baby. And it’s repeated in the breaks throughout the show.
It tugs at my heart, stirring up that which I thought I had under control.
Then my husband and I go to breakfast and we sit in a corner booth where I face a woman and her newborn child.
The woman was an off-duty employee at the restaurant and it seemed to be the first time she brought in her beautiful baby. All of the other employees stopped by with squeals of congratulations.
Longest. Breakfast. Ever.
Followed by a flood of tears once I escaped that suffocating situation.
Infertility brings grief. That grief comes in waves, and as if with any loss, it’s stimulated by these holiday times.
If infertility is your situation too, then please accept the love I now send to you…
I Spent My Birthday Clearing Space
Regardless, the tears did not fall for birthday 34.
I was too busy clearing space for new things. Creations. Imprints of this life that is moving much too fast.
Clearing space… I spent my birthday discarding.
“Really? This is what you want to do on your birthday?” My husband asked.
I smiled. Absolutely. The perfect time.
See, about a week ago I picked up the book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.
Have you read this one? It’s creating somewhat of a buzz.
At first I sort of scoffed at the idea of “life-changing”. Was this for real?
Now that I’ve read through it and started tidying up with Marie’s advisement, I concur. I no longer doubt the life-changing part.
Marie’s overall message is to create a home that is full of things that bring you joy. She suggests using this question as you go through the items in your home.
Does this bring me joy?
If the answer is no, then it needs to go.
You deserve to be around things that bring joy to your life. Everything else is just “clutter” that is blocking the way for other things.
I Saw the Burden With My Own Eyes
In her book, Marie suggests categories of items in your home for review (clothes, books, papers, and miscellaneous).
As you work through each category, collect all these items throughout your home and put them all together. She suggests starting with clothes, specifically tops.
I followed her instructions and piled all of my clothing tops on my bed.
An eye-opening experience followed.
Wow. I have too much stuff. I didn’t realize just how much it really was until I saw it all together like that.
I understand why Marie suggests doing it this way. It provides perspective and motivation to get to discarding.
So, I got to work.
As advised, I picked up each item and asked myself if it brought me joy. How did I feel when I wore it? How did it feel against my skin?
Some items were an easy “no”, while others had me lingering (or so I thought). A couple of times I put things aside that were questionable when I knew the answer was “no”.
For whatever reason I was having a hard time letting it go. But then when I tried it on, and felt its discomfort again, my initial thoughts were confirmed.
I felt a strange rush as I folded these second-guessed items into the black trash bags. It felt good to let go.
As I worked through mounds of clothes, I got better at picking up on my intuitive guidance towards joy. It became immediate. Instinctual.
I get that this may sound strange if you haven’t tried it.
What Are You Holding On To?
Marie digs deeper into the magic of this process, explaining that it helps to build confidence and appreciation for the present moment.
Sometimes we hold onto things because they are tied to something in the past, or are linked to fear of the future.
What if I need it later?
The bigger question is: does it bring you joy now? If it’s not serving you now and doesn’t spark something in you, then get rid of it.
The entire process of discarding was very freeing. I got rid of clothes that I’ve been carrying around for years. I’ve already filled up seven extra large garbage bags of stuff!
Included were a bunch of beautiful suits that no longer fit me. I’d struggled with the idea of getting rid of them for years, despite my husband’s persistance that they were no longer needed.
What if I need to wear them again?
In reality, I don’t forsee a future of suits for me. More like yoga pants, Lol.
But if this does become the case again someday, then I’ll deal with it then. I don’t need to hold onto something that might be, when it’s not right now.
That’s all there really is.
And truth be told, I don’t need those suits right now. I’m sure there are women out there who could actually get use out of them. Just like I did at one point.
The decision making process helped bring me back to the present. Does this serve me now?
This circles back to those worries over motherhood or lack their of…
On the Positive Side?
All in all, this birthday was awesome. I initiated release from that which has weighed me down.
My jam packed closet was causing silent stress. Now it is a space filled with clothes that I actually want to wear. That which does bring me joy. And my clothes have space to breathe! I can see everything that is offered.
I have never purged so much, in such little time, and I’ve only just begun.
By releasing all that I was holding onto, I created space for new, brighter things to come in.
I feel freedom. The word that glows from my desire map.
I’m excited to see what creations come of this clearing – baby or not 🙂
I can tell you that one creation is already in the making, and it too promotes creating space… with your breath.
I’ve been crafting five tracks for the Holiday Breather and I’m super excited to share them with you.
My intention with the Holiday Breather is to help initiate an environment of calm. Of peace. If only for a few minutes. That’s all it takes.
Allow me to share this space with you.
It’s happening next week: December 20th – 24th.
Find out more about the Holiday Breather and sign-up here.
I have many more creations in the queue, and as I bid 34 hello, I know that the year to come will include many more vital expressions of my soul.
I foresee another book that’s been sparked by this idea of the healing power of creative expression.
Child or not, I promise to stimulate my natural creative instinct that comes from being a woman.
Cheers to 34.
Have you read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up? Have you started or completed Marie’s suggestions? I’d love to hear about the impacts this beautiful book has had on your life.