Monday, July 18, 2011

Getting rid of extra baggage

Growing old can become pretty complicated when illness strikes. While recuperating I had to find ways to ease life. My desk and shelves were so cluttered that I could hardly find what I was looking for. Being practically homebound and having help coming in, I used the opportunity to clear up, clear out and throw out, tons of paper and extra baggage.

I had kept handouts from seminars and workshops or international conferences that I had given or attended, there was much background material that I had collected for writing articles or preparing my presentations. Over the last few years I had just made piles of it, left it on my desk, as the shelves were overflowing with files.

My help pulled out pile after pile, I sorted it out and threw away most of it, print outs, old magazines, and what else had accumulated.

When this was done I did the same with my paintings. For the last twenty year I had painted once a week. My walls are adorned by my paintings, others that had been framed to hang in exhibitions, while most of them were just accumulating in a box under the bed. I found an art student (future) who took a great many of them for reuse, as well as half empty tubes of paint, charcoal, and what else I no longer needed.

Slides? Who takes slides today? When many years ago I traveled with a backpack to Asia, Africa or to America and Europe, on my return I gave slid shows in clubs and old age homes as well as to travelers to be. Hundreds of them were standing around neatly stacked and marked, together with the projector and nobody needs or wants them. Out they go. Once upon a time I also had my own darkroom and enlarging apparatus. That too had to go.

Slowly I have more breathing space, but still much more to sort out give away or throw out.

As I shrink with old age, my world shrinks, but my memories, at least the long term memory is still intact. Looking back I enjoy having lived an interesting life.

Sorting out and throwing out what no longer is relevant, is part of the survival tactics. The less baggage you have, the easier it is to survive in old age.

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