Out with the old

There’s been another shift. Ever since I declared 2012 the year of dating and book tours I’ve had this urge to rip down the walls of my life, both literal and metaphorical, and create a new base to work from. It’s started in my bedroom. I moved into this flat over three years ago, and it’s the one room that hasn’t really changed in all that time. I’ve bought new sheets and new clothes but the furniture — most of it hand-me-downs– has remained the same. Everything is still where we put it when I moved in. The energy in the room feels stagnant and it’s only just hit me what a bells-and-whistles metaphor this is for my non-existent love life.

So I’ve been purging. Clearing out drawers and wardrobes. Giving away chairs and cabinets. Taking tens of bags of books to the charity shops. Donating clothes that don’t fit and shoes I can’t walk in. The best birthday present my family gave me on Sunday was to take half of the furniture in my bedroom with them when they left. Slowly slowly I am starting to breathe again. I crave space around me when I sleep. I want to invest in pieces of furniture that will come with me when I next move, items bought because i love them not because an old flatmate left them and somehow they ended up living with me seven years later — talk about carrying old memories with you, sheesh. I am no longer that girl who lived in London. I don’t want to carry the dust of the past into my future.

Coincidentally (but not really) I spent 24 hours in London at the end of last week, and after a fun afternoon with Elizabeth and Christine, I headed over to Sas’s place for homemade soup and a glass of red. Over brunch the next day my very clever pal helped me plan my book tour on paper before we ran around Portobello market taking photos and eating red velvet cupcakes for lunch. On the way to Paddington we parked for a moment outside the place I used to live. As I pointed out my old bedroom window to Sas, and the restaurant where we’d had our last dinner together, I realised that I felt no strong emotions as I sat there giving my friend a tour through my old life. I was more excited about the plans we’d been discussing the night before, and about the life I’ve proudly built all on my own.

Everything that has gone before is important, but it’s what we do with what we’ve learned that matters the most.

There has been a new batch of emotions to process lately — connected to past decisions and actions, to ways of being that I would not choose to inhabit again. Emotions with labels like shame and guilt, stuff I hadn’t realised was sitting in my chest until I made the space and poof there it is, waiting for me to take a peek. Turns out the unravelling never really ends — there’s always more to discover and let go of.

Just like the books and chairs I’ve given away.

So I’ll continue to make space for new clothes, new emotions, new lessons, a new man. Out with the old, in with the sparkly, heart-racing excitement of the NEW.

* * * * *

Speaking of new, we’ve updated the site design a wee bit — what do you think? The Unravelling page is looking particularly swanky. There are still pages to do, but all in good time… just like the rest of my flat/life :)

28 responses
  1. An

    Ah, love how the space we live in often (always?) is such a beautiful metaphor for our lives. And love the let’s-make-a-fresh-start energy of decluttering, making space for the new in our houses and our minds :) I’m in the midst of a decluttering wave myself, having done my bedroom/wardrobe and the kitchen so far. Mmm, makes me think, what does this tell me about me? ;)
    Big hug,

  2. Mary--The Yellow Door Paperie

    I am surprised every time I clear out my physical space what happens in my emotional life and thought life. The two are so connected.

  3. Rhiannon

    “but it’s what we do with what we’ve learned that matters the most.”

    I need to remind myself of this next time I am beating myself up about a “mistake”. Thanks :)
    And belated Happy Birthday ! Enjoy your year of 39 :)

  4. Esther Daley

    I know this process intimately. I finally moved into my own place after being at my parent’s after a horrid marriage break up. As I sat in my new place with boxes full of memories and half of ‘our’ furniture I realised I didnt want reminders of the past and its emotions. I did just as you did, gave, donated and am slowly putting the things I want around me for new memories to be created.

  5. Briana Morrison

    Your blog makeover looks great! So simple and clean- easy to find everything. I’m sure to draw inspiration from those qualities when I finally get around to building my own website after our trip. I can’t wait to see the other updates. :-)
    I completely understand the need to change your space in order to make way for something new. This has always been the way I’ve worked and my fiance doesn’t seem to understand why changing things up is so important. He’s slowly accepting of my need to say out with the old and in with the new, if only because I don’t ask him to pay for it. ;-)

  6. Briana Morrison

    P.S. Happy belated birthday! I love your list of goals and am sure that, in time, every one of them will be realized. It’s such a great way to start out a new year of your life.

  7. Nina

    Your blog looked great before and it still does! I like the purple.

    Have you seen this? http://www.inspiredeverydayliving.com/2011/06/09/ten-decorating-dos-and-donts-when-looking-for-love/ (also from the same blog: http://www.inspiredeverydayliving.com/2011/02/15/how-to-change-your-bedroom-to-improve-your-love-life/)

    I know working through feelings is a talent of yours, but just in case you feel like any of these newly dug-up ones are taking up more time and space than they should, I’m a total believer in Bach Flower Remedies. I don’t see them as a cop-out, because you have to recognise and acknowledge what you’re feeling to choose the right remedy.

  8. Amanda Chea

    Sometimes some changes really can make a huge difference. I hope you find peace with it.

    And the site is looking good!

  9. Mariella

    That’s great Susannah! And all so true, is what you do with what you learn that matters the most, I love this and try to remember it more often…

  10. christine

    Maybe I should do this…..do a nice purge and clearing of things. I tend to hold so much on to the past…probably because I’m afraid and don’t trust that there’s good things for me in future. x

  11. jane/faerian

    that made me tear up with happy – what a huge moment – i feel proud of you Susannah

  12. Stephinie

    *swanky* what a great word…. it does look lovely. And I am prepared (via gift from my mama) to take not one, but BOTH classes in April. It’s going to be busy…. but amazing. And my mom is also taking unravelling so we’ve get a mother/daughter thing going on for that which is going to be awesome. Happy belated 39. Cheers!

  13. EMC

    Sounds lovely Susannah. Hopefully we’ll get to see some pics.BTW found this blog/site http://www.witandwhistle.com and she has a beautiful house/business etc, makes loads of stuff herself and it looks fabulous. Might be worth a goo. E.x

  14. sas

    ‘Everything that has gone before is important, but it’s what we do with what we’ve learned that matters the most’

    TRU DAT.
    You are rocking it love.
    Be kind to yourself (all of your selves) xxx

  15. susannah

    i LOVE it when mums and daughters unravel together – that’s huge! xx

  16. Cristina | Positively Beauty

    Getting rid of old stuff that no longer represents us is a huge step towards healing and letting in new “things” into our lives – I totally agree with you. I just sold my whole stock & tools of mosaic materials because I no longer use that as a medium for my creativity…I had all this stuff but was afraid of letting it go…but every time I looked at it it just made me feel guilty, because I thought of all the money I spent on it, and how I wasn’t making anything with it.
    When I finally decided to sell it, it all happened very quickly; I was sad for a while, but now I feel free, and lighter! Plus I used part of the money to buy a macro lens for my camera, which I’ve wanted for ages!!!
    I guess that sometimes it’s so hard to let go because we are attached to an image of ourselves that’s no longer us, and we fear that if we let go we’ll become unhinged, unrooted, if you like…and also, let’s not forget that letting things go means stepping out of our comfort zone, which does feel uncomfortable!
    Anyway, for being my first comment it looks like I’ve bored you enough…I just want to say: Good job Susannah, congratulations :)

  17. Nicola

    Hi Susannah. I discovered your blog a couple of months ago and just wanted to say how much I love it and how much what you say speaks to me. A lot of what you write could have been written by me (except much less eloquently) as I feel much the way you do. I lost my husband 2 years ago and the last two years have been about learning to cope, look after my little boy and trying to start to heal. I have so many regrets about the past and things and I did and didn’t do. My life isn’t anything like I wanted it to be apart from my little boy. I feel like I need to make changes but don’t know what. Anyway I have started by doing your Unravelling course that is running now and hope in time to do more and that one day I can live the life I imagined. Anyway enough waffling I just wanted to say thank you for your heartfelt wisdom. It makes me realise I am not alone. Oh and I very much looking forward to your book and plan to take more of your courses. xx

  18. Andrew Lightheart

    I find that clutter is often anaesthetic against feelings.

    Thing is, I keep having to learn that lesson again and again. Almost like the clutter covers up its own covering-up.

    Turns out the emotions freed up also tends to equal energy released for other stuff.

    Thanks for the reminder.

    Hey, Future Andrew! Remember this! :)

  19. Cecilia

    how cathartic- cleaning house! good luck. i know there’s so much more to it than just moving stuff from one place to another.

  20. BougieHippie

    redecorating is the perfect restart it open you creative and help inspires many different aspects of your life.

  21. michelle gd

    “Everything that has gone before is important, but it’s what we do with what we’ve learned that matters the most” … yes, yes, and yes!

    you continue to inspire with your honesty.
    here’s to decluttering, redecorating, and all the sparkly NEW!!!

  22. Melissa Jaine

    Something defnitely in the air … yesterday I posted pictures of the redo I did of my living room between Christmas and New Year. And it has completely changed my energy, my perspective, I feel calm but empowered. Oh – and every cupboard, cabinet and drawer in my rented home has been cleared and cleaned too. So I know exactly what you mean. :)

  23. onesoul

    This post is absolutely wonderful. As is the new look.

  24. azuradec

    I really like this new vibe that you have and am inspired… Rooting for you and love for 2012

  25. Kathryn

    Organising our house is something me and mum are doing this year, it feels good to move things around and let of stuff (which I find so hard to do).
    Love the changes to the site, too. :)

  26. Carrie Breinholt

    Beautifully written post. It really speaks to me. About 2 years ago, after a bad breakup, I started purging things from my home. Not only was the process cathartic, but I realized I really didn’t need everything I thought I needed in order to be happy. I wish you all the best with it!

  27. Zsofi

    You know what, dear? I am really happy for you! You gave me so much with your course and words. I will REALLY ask the WORLD to send you the best of what you are ready to receive. xoxo

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