Day 36: Still Purging After All These Years

In the past five years, I went through a separation and a divorce from a 20+ year marriage. A big part of that process has been wading through the stuff.

In the beginning I boxed up all of the things that triggered painful reminders of our love lost and entombed that stuff in a plastic container tucked away in my closet. The pain has subsided; the relationship has healed; the container remains on the shelf, undisturbed.

After Ellen moved out, I clung to the things I loved the most, especially art we had collected over the years — mostly items acquired from art student auctions and school fundraiser auctions and a few dramatic original paintings. She left and while my world got turned upside down, I wanted to keep the surface of my home stable and undisrupted — for myself and our children.

But more recently, I have taken more and more of these items off the walls and have offered them to her as I have been remaking this house into my own home. It’s an ongoing process. Last month, I gave her an ink drawing of women under the moon. This month, she’s moving out some Euro-chic furniture we inherited from her mom. She rarely leaves this house empty handed.

Here’s one item I picked up in recent years, but no longer care to keep.

It’s a framed textile acquired by an acquaintance from who has traveled the world. I’m not even sure which country this is from. I got it at a fundraising auction a few years back as I starting acquiring things to make my walls reflect my own values and vision. I gravitated to crafts. But this handiwork isn’t my handiwork. It doesn’t hold a story for me. It doesn’t comfort or transport me. It doesn’t belong here, anymore.

My ex now lives in a modern condo that offers a breathtaking view of the sunset every night. Her place is filled with new, modern furniture (she has terrific taste and style, always did) but her walls are covered largely with art that used to greet me each day as I moved from room to room in the house we once shared. In truth, the only thing about her space I envy is that spectacular view. (And the fact that she doesn’t have to worry about home maintenance and repairs).

And now, I share my home with my newer beloved, a photographer. Many of his photos are on display and we’ve got many more to hang in the months to come. This weekend we are moving some more of his folksy furniture in. Out with the modern and in with the cozy.

Home is a place of peace and beauty and love. It’s a refuge in an ever- crazier world. It’s a place that is at the same time consistent and constantly changing. It’s aging and mellowing and settling and evolving, just like me.