Fall Shedding for Winter Hibernation

I know we are still in the middle of fall and have another month left before winter even starts, but I’m already starting to feel the shift. 

In Seattle, the weather has started to turn colder, which always makes me think of death. Not in a morbid way, but just as a part of the cycle of life and progress. Living things die and new ones are born. It’s seasonal and natural.  I don’t avoid talking about, acknowledging or even embracing the idea that loved ones die or will die someday. Living life without taking tomorrow for granted really makes each day special. 

As my way of honoring the feelings that I get around winter, I become aware of welcoming death in my life. I use it as a time to de-clutter my thoughts and my surroundings and my lifestyle; to slough off the old skin so I can start with fresh skin again in the spring.

One of the things I’ve found myself doing this fall is systematically eliminating things that I’m either abusing through overuse or are just simply not serving me at all anymore like late night dessert; cookies, ice cream, etc. Since I’m not that concerned with weight loss, and I’m active, I can allow myself a bit of indulgence in that department. But I know there are other health concerns (and even other cosmetic concerns if you consider the effect of sugar on the look of the skin)  with overusing these things, and lately I’ve become aware of doing it too much and too often. So now I’m making a conscious choice not to do it at all for a while and to examine what my reaction is. I feel like there is a place in my life for sinful, sugary desserts, but I would rather have that be the exception to the rule than a habit. I have not set a final day for this experiment, but my thinking is that at some point in the next few days, I will feel an insurmountable urge and will take note of how many days has passed. It might give me an idea of what sort of frequency to allow the desserts.

Maybe it is the shorter days, or the lower temperatures, or the golden color of the leaves, but yesterday, I started to become aware that I was addicted to Facebook.  It was the first thing I opened in the morning, and the last thing I closed at night and was the focus of my attention numerous times during the day. So yesterday afternoon, I shut it off and made a commitment not to look at it for three days. And at that time, I’ll examine my reaction to both not having access to it and also when the three days are up, what my new feelings will be about re-approaching it. 

So far, it’s only been about 24 hours and I’m alarmed by how often I almost open it up. It has become a reflexive habit. I also had to change the settings on my computer because it would tend to default back to Facebook and before I could close the browser, I’d catch a glimpse that I had 24 notifications. The urge was strong, but instead I ignored them, closed the browser and got a lot of stuff accomplished that day. 

The following morning, I had the spare time to go through all the closets and gather up the ‘junk’ that’s collected in the past year. Old shoes, gifts I never opened and clothing that hasn’t been and/or won’t be worn any longer and put them all in bags. Then put all the bags in Thumper’s boot. I don’t drive often, but the next time I go somewhere, I’ll see them and can quickly swing by a donation bin that’s in a parking lot right in the neighborhood.

The day after that, I devoted to deleting things from my computer to free up space on my hard drive. By investigating why so many of my photos showed up multiple times, I ended up discovering a folder called ‘deleted emails’. There were over 6000 emails with pictures attached. Every time I sent a picture to someone, another copy of it was saved in this folder even though I thought they were deleted. But after I deleted all the emails in that folder, I saw that the duplicates of many of my pictures were gone. I also found a whole folder of duplicates of movies and a couple of video games I never play anymore. I ended up clearing out over 10 GB of space. 

I'm not sure what part of my life will be the next to get reduced, or if I'm done for now, but I thought I'd share a bit of my annual downsizing process.


Anonymous said…
Honoring your 3-day fast from FB, I'm posting my comment here (which is actually how it is supposed to be) rather than the FB blog post. You may or may not have seen my FB post this morning.

Death is not something I fear or a subject about which I am afraid to talk. My spiritual education has taught me that the body is a shell for the spirit and when the body is no longer strong enough to house the spirit, the body dies but the spirit is eternal.

My sweet Loki has reached his time for leaving the earth. His body is frail and weak; he cannot keep food down. I will be calling the vet tomorrow to discuss when I can bring Loki in for his final visit. It is sad, yet it is a part of life.

I love how your are purging things. I'd love to know more about where you found all of those files. I probably have such a folder, too and just don't know about it.

Thanks for your post. It is quite cold in Wisconsin. 9 degrees today with a pretty strong wind, but sunny, too.




Thanks for the comment.

I vividly remember the death of every pet I've ever had. It's not something we look forward to, but certainly something we invite whenever we befriend an animal with a short life span. It's good to have a healthy perspective on it.

And it's extra difficult not to feel like a murderer when we make that hard decision to 'set them free'. With my cat, Tosh, I let her suffer for a year before being strong enough to end it. Looking back, I have more regrets about NOT taking care of the problem in a timely manner than I do about finally taking her in.

My heart is with you in this difficult transition. It sounds like Loki is in the winter spirit, too. I'm sure he had a nice, love-filled life and is ready for the next chapter, whatever that is.

Oh, I forgot to explain where I found the deleted emails file. It was from my AOL account. I guess for some reason AOL keeps a copy of every email I've ever deleted on my hard drive. Well not any more!!

I navigated to the folder in my hard drive called Library.

Then to a folder called Mail. Inside that is IMAP-fit420warrior@imap.aol.com and inside that is a folder called Deleted Messages.imapmbox

I deleted that entire folder.

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