One of the first things I decided to let go of, when purging my belongings, were my books and very large oak bookcase. My books were part of my identity and had great meaning to a very private part of me. I thought this would be hard, but once I started it was relatively painless. I wondered why I had needed to hold on to them in the first place.
As a child, I didn’t have many friends or playmates, I lost myself in books. I could escape to another time or place, and learn anything I wanted to know from my books. While I love to read, yes I still do, I finally came to a point in my life where my books were more baggage than enjoyment.
To own every book I ever enjoyed, meant a lot of space was taken up in my home that could have been used in other more satisfying ways. Our books when on display will tell everyone who enters our home what we think and feel strongly about. It’s no different than a bumper sticker on your car. I have never wanted to have bumper stickers on my vehicles as I never felt the need to scream at the world who I was or what I believed in.
I have never been one who needed to have pictures to remind me of my vacations or places I’ve lived either. All those memories are stored in my heart and in my memories. So why did I think I needed to keep every book I enjoyed?
By letting go of my books I found I opened myself up to new reading experiences. Instead of looking for the next book in a series to have them all, I now began to seek out different authors and ideas new to me. I now use the library exclusively to find books to read. I simply browse the shelves for something that looks interesting and slip it in my bag to bring home.
Once in a while I will visit blogs to see what others are reading and add interesting titles to my phone’s notebook for an upcoming library visit. A couple sites I enjoy are Shannon’s site which has books divided by genre, this site which lists Time Magazine’s 100 greatest novels ever, and Linda’s blog where so far she has 46 books listed that she has read and I’ve yet to read a spoiler here.
Many of the non-fiction books I had kept spoke of a point of view that I no longer held, but the books were still on display, showing me who I was instead of who I had become. By letting go of them, I let go of a narrow vision of myself.
My books were my best friends, always available, without complaint or criticism. But they were also keeping me stuck in a time of my life I needed to let go of. By letting go of them I am now free to be who I am today and who I may be tomorrow.
What do you hold on to from another part of your life? Does it bring you joy or remind you of a time you need to move on from?