I love that we love potential. But in January, I purged everything – old contacts, clothes, dishes, my apartment, my old office. I threw away that dress that never covered my cleavage. I threw away the dress – the dress that I was wearing when an old lady on the train walked up to me and said she could see my underwear. I threw away that book from Bible Study that I haven’t re-read. I threw away that picture of me when I was six and cut my own bangs. I threw away the panda bear stuffed animal from my childhood.
I’m going to be honest – it hurt to clean out my closet and have people throw away all of my stuff. It hurt to close the door on potential. I still think about that dress and that boy and that panda bear.
I kept going. I went to my phone – a place so small but covered in reminders of the past. I deleted old texts, screenshots, anyone with the last name “Tinder” or “Don’t Date Him”. I purged the letters I wrote and never sent. I threw out the dried up mascara. I threw out my work portfolio as an intern and then as a marketer.
And it feels pretty damn good to throw away potential.
It feels good to let go of relationships that abruptly ended and never got put back together again. It feels good to let go of men who couldn’t quite ask me out. It feels good to let go of waiting for him to call you back after two months.
It feels good to throw away the expectations and the weight of wanting things to revert back to the way they were, and rather to be in pursuit of moving forward.
It feels good to get rid of that shirt that you couldn’t breathe in, or even worse, the one you could see-through.
All of that energy spent on potential – spent on the past. Because now that those numbers are gone. I’ve cleanout out my closet, my little black book, I can now put that energy into reaching goals for the future. The thing about potential is that it has an expiration. SAT scores won’t get you into grad school. Your ex (probably) won’t be your husband. That shirt won’t magically become opaque. I’ve been holding onto the past – onto high school, onto figuring out why things didn’t work.
I don’t know why my old best friend won’t call me back. I don’t know why I still haven’t talked with my friend from high school. I don’t know why I hold onto shoes that I can’t walk in or oversized purses that are impractical for public transportation.
I’ve decided to get rid of things because I don’t need them. I need things to help me live my life today and help me achieve my goals for the future. And yes, if you’re asking, I did read that Netflix documentary on Minimalism.
I’d rather be in pursuit of moving forward instead of trying to mend the past – think about the past, wish for the past – for the way things were.
The hardest part of being an adult is realizing that we have to move on. And that’s one of the key components of minimalism. Relationships fade; clothes fade. Things don’t naturally come to us like they did before. Our new best friend won’t be sitting next to us at work, we might find our best friend on Snapchat. Dating a jerk, will only lead to the vicious cycle of sleeping with jerks. We have to date someone who actually wants similar things in life that we want.
No one really wants their ex back or their faded jean jacket or their SAT scores. So, cheers to February – to a new month and to new perspectives and mostly to moving forward in the present instead of pining after the past. 🍷
Amanda Elliott is a writer and speaker and a relationship builder. She believes that meeting people in person is important. After attending numerous fashion, startup, and creative events, she founded Windy City Cosmo is 2015 to help people make connections in the city as they build their businesses, start and end relationships and see and be seen. Over the past three years, the entrepreneurs she’s interviewed have become the most successful in Chicago and Windy City Cosmo won an award in 2017 for her work for female entrepreneurs.