Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

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~Jesse Stuart

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Joy in the Small Things

My daughter recently sent me a picture of the box of clothes she was getting rid of because, as she said, "wearing them no longer brings me joy."

I thought of the clothes I wear all the time that no longer bring me joy. Two pairs of pants I used to love but now have stains on the cuffs I can't get off. Shirts that don't quite fit me right or the colors are faded. A knit dress several years old that's now pilled. The list was quite long and disheartening.

These small imperfections I try to ignore because new clothes are hard to come by where I live in Guatemala, and I only go back to the States once a year. That's a long time to wait between shopping trips.

Then I began to think of other things that take up my time and energy which do not bring me joy. Not a lot, I must admit, because at my age I've learned how to bring joy into my life even with mundane tasks. But still, there are a few areas for improvement. Like the clothes.

Have you ever given up something when it no longer brought you joy?

20 comments:

  1. Yes! Though if I love a piece of clothing a few stains won't bother me. I am the sort of person who happily quits things that don't work out - whether they are things, jobs or even people. I think it is because of my vagabond youth and also because I'm getting too old to waste a moment on that which doesn't bring me joy or some sort of satisfaction. It sounds quite merciless when I say it like that, so I hasten to add that the only folks I give up on are those who feel it is okay to abuse or betray our friendship. I give them a few more chances but then I ex them. Clothes are hard to find here too - very expensive and stupid and I'm used to shopping in consignment shops. Luckily I don't need anything to fancy here - though I thought I'd get to wear some summer clothes by now. Yes, it is STILL cold here. Everyone says it is highly unusual so I won't 'Give Up' on Labrador even if it isn't bringing me joy.

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  2. Sometimes it's good to clear those things out.
    I gave up playing computer games all the time because I realized I was wasting my life away doing that.

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  3. I've given up many things over the years to do what I do now and apparently I don't miss them as I don't even remember what they were.

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  4. Most things run their course and what was beautiful and exciting, fades with time. However, in some cases, it is a more difficult decision but we all know in our hearts that it is time to move on.

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  5. I haven't bought new clothes in years. I go to thrift stores. I miss "new" but with the styles these days, I'd rather have worn out "classics". As for giving up things that used to bring me joy -- sure, I've given up a lot. But then I find joy in the mundane. Like a house to myself for a few hours each day so I can write in peace and quiet. My african violet putting off a white flower instead of pink or purple. Like not burning dinner because of my crazy stove top that doesn't work right anymore.

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  6. Absolutely yes, including people!!

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  7. Yes. I think it's part of us growing and changing as people (regardless of our age). But there are things I've given up that still bring me joy. I no longer play hopscotch, but I smile whenever I see kids playing it.

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  8. I tend to hang on to the things the bring me joy because even when they no longer do so, they bring me memories. That makes for some tight closets...but eventually I give in and purge.

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  9. Giving up things is hard sometimes but we all need to take a closer look at what really brings up joy and concentrate on that.

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  10. Oh yes - the most obvious: cooking for other people. I'd rather talk to them, or read. So now I take people out - then no one has to put up with my cooking and we can all have a good time.

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  11. Shedding stuff, becoming lighter, is something I do in spurts, not in a continuous measured way. Funny how accumulating is steadily ongoing, regardless.
    As to clothes that don't bring joy--that's most of my closet.

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  12. I never thought of clothes bringing me joy! I do find that I skip over some items in my closet every day...and I end up eventually putting it in the pile to take down to the donate bin in the parking lot of the grocery store. I buy most of my clothes on eBay, so I don't feel so bad getting rid of them!

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  13. A good thought for today. I've been holding off on buying new clothes for several reasons, but man getting dressed is less of a joyous occasion and more of a close-my-eyes-when-I-pass-the-mirror occasion.

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  14. I've been sick of a bursting wardrobe for some time and am slowly sending clothes I never wear to my favourite op shop. Men have the right idea--they keep it simple, usually, just a range of black or blue T shirts and jeans. Must try it. Would get joy out of that!

    Denise :-)

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  15. Yes! Some things take a little longer for me to part with than others, but I'm not generally a keeper of things. I'm more a keeper of people. Not in a locked-room kind of way but more a once a friend, always a friend way.

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  16. Oh yes-some things like wine glasses that now do not hold the same meaning or clothes, that when i look at it bring me down because they don't fit any more so why would i want to look at them. What about buying some clothes that are native to wear you live? I love some of the bright skirts that I have seen in pictures. When you wrote about tops that have stains and tears in them it reminded me of Katherine Hepburn. In later years, she did not own a dress or skirt and kept wearing the same clothes especially one top that looked pretty beaten up. She didn't care one bit.

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  17. Such an appropriate post for me to read at this stage of my life. "No longer give you joy"...we are downsizing and looking at the things collected over 30 years. What brings us joy? Very little--we had ceased looking at it all long ago.
    Thanks for another push in the right direction.

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  18. I try to routinely get rid of things in my life that doesn't bring me joy. I think it's good for me not to be stuck doing things I hate.

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  19. At the beginning of every year, I turn all my hangers opposite of how I usually would and at the end of the year, any of them still backwards I give way. If I didn't wear them all year, why should I keep them? I never really thought about clothes giving me joy. They're just something I wear that's frequently ill-fitting.
    I've dumped a boyfriend who no longer brought any joy/amusement in my life, but really... I'm hard pressed to make decisions like that.

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  20. I think there is a book about getting rid of any items that don't bring you joy as a method of decluttering. I've started the process, but I never seem to have time to complete it. The idea of pulling everything out and making decisions? I really struggle with making decisions. I think to myself "But it brought me joy a year ago…" Then I hold onto it never using or needing it again. *sigh* At least you've learned to find joy in other areas of your life. I'm sure that's where true joy lies. :)

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