“Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?” – Robert Burns
What does that mean?
This is a line from an old Scottish poem and song. It is a traditional ‘ending’ song, asking the rhetorical question “what if we forgot our old friends?”
The usual answer is that we won’t, we’ll remember them, and raise a glass with them another day. At least that’s the way I have always interpreted it.
But with this post the old year has ended, and we begin the new year. There are some things which we should remember, and others to which we should probably say goodbye.
The trick, of course is determining which to keep and which to discard. Do you ever think about what you want to keep, and what you will forget?
Why is cleaning up important?
While some may be able to keep their lives clutter free, many of us (myself included) do not. Things happen, people come into our lives, and others leave it. But what do we hold on to, and what do we leg go? What are the measures we use to decide which is which?
With the coming of the New Year and the passing of the Old, now is a simple, if symbolic, time to sort these things out. Yes, I’m asking you to try to think with a (possible) hangover. Sorry about that. The hangover, that is. But seriously, when will the time be better?
Think of where you live. I’m used to the traditional ‘Spring Cleaning,’ when we tidy up the house, and sort out the stuff we haven’t used in the last year between the ‘keep’ pile and the ‘discard’ pile. Do you have a family or cultural tradition for cleaning out the clutter?
Now think about how things look after the cleaning compared to before. How different does the place feel? Now consider your life, and how different it might feel, if you were to clear out the unneeded or detrimental things, and only keep the things which are helpful, useful, or beautiful?
Where can I apply this in my life?
As the quote is about acquaintances, or people you have known, let’s start there, shall we? Who used to be in your life, but is no longer helpful? Perhaps they are just a bad memory. Perhaps they are still trying to get back into your life. Perhaps they just drifted away.
Whatever the reason, does it make sense to keep them in your mind, your phone, your e-mail, your social media, or anywhere else for that matter? Is it time to let go, and to make room for people who will be better for you and your life going forward?
Grab some paper and take a moment to consider who might qualify for the ‘discard’ pile. People fall along a continuum, from very good to us (or for us) to quite the opposite. Few people occupy the far ends, and most fall somewhere in-between. Where will you draw the line?
There are no hard or fast rules, this is all about what you think is best for you given your experiences and beliefs. You might want to hold on to someone, hoping things get better. You never know, they might. That is a call you will have to make. You will also have to live with it, either way.
Another thing I try to clean out from time to time is my to-do list. Has anything been hanging around for years and years, but you never manage to get around to doing anything about it? Is it time to put that item in the ‘discard’ pile? I still hold on to some things because, well just because.
Again, it is your call regarding what to keep and what to discard. Be sure to consider why you want to keep or discard an item on the to-do list. Can you justify why it will remain there? Will you actually get to it soon, or is it just the sentimental value? You have to decide.
Earlier I mentioned the ritual of ‘Spring Cleaning.’ We recently hosted a party which required a similar level of cleaning, and a lot of stuff got stored in the garage and other places. Now we are sorting the stuff out and trying to regain use of the garage.
What around your house is just clutter? Things that might have had meaning at one point in time, but now just takes up space? Do you have something from a holiday fad from a couple years (or decades) ago? Does it still have meaning to you, or is it still there because you haven’t done anything about it?
The New Year is here. What will you remember, and what will you forget? What will you keep and what will you discard? What will you choose to do?
- for Auld Lang Syne (heatherfromthegrove.wordpress.com)
- Goodbye 2013; Hello 2014! (learnenglishonlineviaskype.wordpress.com)
- New Year’s Eve: With a fresh year ahead, it pays to remember old times, friends (thetimesnews.com)
- Happy New Year 2014 (pja64x.wordpress.com)
- 10 questions to help you reflect on your year and prepare for the next (timemanagementninja.com)