I recently cleaned out my room. Like REALLY cleaned it out. And I learned a lot in the process.
I understand that a lot of people don’t have a 3 or 4 days to completely clean out their room, and paint it, and rearrange it, and redecorate it, and take new life into it. BUT, if you do find the time, I recommend it. Let me explain why.
~Forgive any clichés you may run into in this article, as well as the fact that it is in bulleted-esque form (especially because my last post mocked the hell out of Listcle type articles so may the blogging Gods of the world have mercy on my soul, but I believe that there is no better way to look at this).~
I should explain that most of all, I really suck at keeping things clean and also really suck at letting things go. (Tell me that doesn’t sound like an episode of ‘Hoarding: Buried Alive’). It was practically a miracle that I stepped into my room one day and decided I was going to clean it out. I started this journey for 2 reasons: 1) I just got home from college for an indefinite amount of time for the future and realized that my High School Varsity Letter that I earned by sitting on the bench for most of my senior year of field hockey probably isn’t as cool as I thought it was 4 years ago and 2) my mom was going to kill me if I didn’t stop the madness in my room. (Bonus reason: I had no clean shorts).
And so the journey began as I tackled drawer after drawer of clothes, box after box of shoes, book after book, picture after picture, and so on. I was really going hard in the beginning, blasting some One Direction and really making a killing in loose change found around my room. But as time passed on, and layer after layer of stuff began to clear out, I took more and more time to look at the things that I found and decide their worth to me.
I found it interesting that I was so quick to get rid of stuff just on the surface of my floor but as I got down to the initial layer, it became more difficult for me to get rid of stuff.
As I step back now and look at the situation in my room as a whole, I am able to pick out the beneficial points in my journey (I promise you I am in no way exaggerating when I say ‘journey’ because there were literal mountains of shit on my floor). I think I came out on the other side of my clothes/garbage/papers/picture/shoe/crafts mountain as a better person who now has a better understanding of things.
Who honestly let me wear a purple/teal/orange/blue PONCHO?? I almost threw up when I found it beneath the rubble of my life. What grade did I wear this in??? Did I have friends when I wore it?? What was I thinking??? ALSO WHY IS IT STILL HERE?!? Why was I friends with her? Or him?? Did I think they were nice? Did I just want to fit in? Why did I buy this frame that says “Live. Laugh. Love.” Did I really expect to be living and laughing and loving 24/7? Did I picture myself waking up everyday and looking at it and saying, “AH YES, today actually might be the worst day ever but it is still important that I Live, Laugh, AND Love!” (If you look at the picture below, you will see a freaking sign on my wall that says, ‘to live is to love’ which is written on NOTEBOOK PAPER and taped to my wall with scotch tape. Did I honestly believe that that was making my room look cooler or did i just truly believe that just living is enough to love???? SOMEONE HELP my 15 year-old-self because I really CANNOT. Also my good friend Eva is the cover model for this post, photos shot circa 2009). It’s easy to see that things change over the years. Most of the time, it’s for the better (CC: poncho). My mom has been saying to me since I was very little this idea of, “everything happens for a reason and things change because they’re supposed to”. Thnx Jude for the words of wisdom. As cliché as it is to say that, I honestly believe that it’s true. People who aren’t good for you leave or make it really obvious that they are meant to leave. Things go out of style because the things that remain classic never do. Something you believed when you were 12 might have been right for your 12 year old self, but doesn’t work so much for your 22 year old self, so now you have a new belief. Things change because the experiences you have force them to or shape them into something different. Don’t be afraid of change because you’ve been experiencing it your whole life.
Things remain the same.
What’s important will always be important to you. And I’m not talking about how when you were 17, Pretty Little Liars was important to you, but now it’s not. No. I’m talking about the fundamentals of you life and the pillars of your very existence. For me, it’s family, loyalty, and happiness. What did you build you life on? Check the bottom of the junk drawer in your room or the box in the very back of your closet or the albums up in your attic. What’s there? Is it a picture of your family? Is it a note someone sent you in High School with a joke it in? Is it the collar of your very first childhood dog? That’s what I found: happiness, loyalty, and family. I peeled back the layers of clothes that I’ve accumulated over the years and all the fads that passed and all the CDs I don’t listen to anymore and the pictures of the friends that betrayed me and beneath all that garbage remained my pillars. There are some things that come in life that will just be there forever. The line from your favorite book. Your mom’s recipes. The way your dad taught you to throw a baseball. The way your house smells when you walk into the front door after a long vacation. The scary stories your brothers told you only to then sleep on your floor that night in your room because you were scared. The 3 am conversations you had with your best friends before you left for college. Some things don’t leave you: memories, stories, traditions. Other things do leave you: people, trends, items, feelings.
I read this quote the other day and it struck a chord I didn’t know I had: “There’s an old saying – that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, I don’t believe that. I think the things that try to kill you make you angry and sad. Strength comes from the good things, your family, your friends, the satisfaction of hard work. Those are the things that will keep you whole, those are the things to hold onto when you’re broken.” –Sons of Anarchy #tru
It’s never too late.
I took a brush to my walls and changed the color of my room. I’ve lived in this same corner bedroom my entire life. My aunts painted it pink for me as a small infant, and it has been painted blue and yellow and now grey. I wrote my college essay in my bedroom as well as hung my college diploma in there.
Getting rejected from every graduate school I applied to has been one of the more challenging mental tasks of my life. It’s hard to have a post-grad plan so definite and concrete yet so left up to chance. It’s hard to hear that your dreams have to be put on hold. It’s hard to be rejected. However, if cleaning out my room taught me anything, it’s this: sometimes, you have to take everything out and rearrange it when you put it back in. Sometimes you have to change the color of the walls. Sometimes you have to buy new furniture.
View it as this: my room is stagnant. It will always be in one place. However, the stuff inside could use some rearrangement, upgrades, and new ideas. One day, my room will be complete and I’ll start a new journey in there.
My dream of going to grad school is stagnant. It will always be in one place. However, the plans inside my dream could use some rearrangement, upgrades, and new ideas. One day my dream will be complete and I’ll start a new journey in there.
It’s never too late to try again. It’s never too late to start again. It’s never to late to work harder than you did before.
Take time to look back,
take time to look forward.
Clean out your room.