I spent three hours this morning returning clothing and shoes to three stores, which netted me more than $300. I had other things to do today, mostly writing, and, when I realized that my morning would soon be lost to me forever, I found myself getting irritated.
My first stop was Nordstrom Rack. When I got to the checkout and piled my returns on the counter, the clerk said, “So what are you doing”?
“I’m liberating myself,” I said.
As the morning tick tocked out of my life forever, my car emptied and my bank account filled. I was flooded with a sense of relief and a lightening of my spirit. The space created by those returns harkened me back to a conversation I’d had years ago with my dear friend, Leo, who turned 91 on August 3.
Leo had been married five times, and, although he would admit that he did have an interesting life, he would also tell you that his five trounces with matrimony occurred for one, distinct reason:
“I never asked myself, ‘Who am I? and What do I want?'”.
As I tooled on over to store number three -DSW – I asked myself the second question, specifically. The answer, “One more pair of shoes”, never came to mind.
I will tell anyone who never asks that I am acutely aware that I am closer to the end of my life than I am to its beginning. My days are numbered and I know it. So, how do I want to spend the rest of my days? Finding one more online deal to clutter up my life? No, thanks.
My list is short:
I will to return to Paris, where I spent one, crucial, formative year, more than half my lifetime ago. This time, the wisdom and experience gathered over three decades will serve as my new tour guides.
The French language (which I have loved since I was taught my first, “Quand est-ce que le match commence?” by a tempestuous Mr. Ricardi in 7th and 8th grade before I got to the devoted Miss Basher for three more years of high school French, then a six-year break before I started college at age 23, where I studied for one more year before proclaiming, ‘”I’m never going to learn this language the way I want to sitting in a classroom!” took me to Paris at age 25), will roll off my tongue as never before and I’ll be reminded of how that experience so long ago contributed to the person I became.
This trip is slated for late fall. If you don’t see me by Christmas, well, I think you can figure out what happened.
From now on, I will devote my creative energy to my writing, exclusively. In the short queue is completing another memoir and turning it into a one-woman show. Don’t worry. You’ll be the first to know when it’s all finished and ready.
I’d like to invite you to gather up a broom and have a look around the cluttered closet of your own life and sweep out your own cheap fillers. Ask yourself those two questions above and see what happens.
Why? Because you may have heard somewhere along the way that this life is fleeting and nobody lives forever. And the most regretful thing of all is regret itself.
In closing, I thought you might like to know,
As of today, with the exception of food, I’ve called a moratorium on shopping and buying anything.