Time to Spring Clean Family

I’ve never been one to spring clean, yet these past weeks I’ve done nothing but spring clean. Not just my house, but my whole life, as we prepare to move out and start afresh in another country. I’ve sorted through all the memories hidden away in the loft. I’ve said goodbye to junk and clothes I’m never going to lose enough weight to fit back in, and I’ve done the little jobs that needed doing for years, but are only getting done because we’ve sold – silly really.

I also never make New Year’s resolutions. I tend to set myself lots of little goals throughout the year, as I believe without goals how can we get a sense of achievement. New Year’s resolutions tend to be emotional, made in the same vein as when you’re on holiday, happy and relaxed, and you make plans to change your life when you get home, but never do. Yet as we enter the first week of this new year, I am about to make one…

Nobody’s Perfect

I’ve taught my children that nobody’s perfect and you have to weigh up the good and bad in any relationship. If, for example, you are the one who always makes the move, but your friend is pleased to hear from you and you meet up and have a great time, then perhaps that is the compromise you should be willing to make, because you enjoy their company. If, on the other hand, your friend is full of excuses and always too busy, then perhaps they’re the one you should cut loose. Life is about little compromises, some give and take and accepting each other’s foibles. If it becomes all one-sided and you get nothing out of it, then it is likely to be an unhealthy relationship in the long run.

I’ve said this to them on many an occasion and now it’s time to take heed of my own advice, to prune the dead wood in my life, as I’ve tried and failed to have a relationship with a certain section of my family for over 30 years. I always remember birthdays, Christmas and visit whenever I can. I make the effort at great expense to go to engagement parties and weddings overseas, but I get absolutely nothing in return. None of them remember my birthday or that of my children, nobody is willing to meet me half-way if I’ve been nearby but not near enough, and nobody contacts me to see how I am, not even when there was cancer in the family. I’ve come to the conclusion that they are either totally self-absorbed and selfish or simply and more likely, none of them give a damn. So I have finally plucked up the courage to face that fact and move on.

It’s been hard.

So from today, I will send no more cards, no good wishes for new homes or anniversaries and no more visits. From today, I accept that part of my family is in the past and will never be part of my future and I am no longer going to cling onto the hope that it will be. You cannot make people love you or care, no matter how much you wish it, whether they’re a father, brother, mother, sister or a friend you’d like to have.

Peace-dove-digitartSo as I get ready to let go of my life in the UK and start afresh in France, I’ve let go of old memories, I’ve got rid of rubbish and now I’m releasing my wishful thinking. From now on I will only concentrate on what I have – those that do care and not waste any more time on those I’d hope would care. Time to let go…


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  1. Carol Fragale Brill says:

    Helena, I’m not moving, just going through a declutter stage to simplify.
    Like you, I’ve unearthed memories, mementos, and pictures I didn’t even know I still had. Lots got tossed and over the holidays, I put lots on display for my guest and let them take what they like. So my stuff found a second home, making it easier to let it go.
    It can’t be easy to let go of family. When I’ve had to let go of people like that, it helps me to do it “just for today”
    One day at a time, I’m much better at letting go.
    all the best with all the changes in your life

    • Helena Johnson says:

      Thanks. It’s nice when things go to a good home. I’ve given a lot of stuff away to struggling families in our area. I hate waste and glad it helps someone in need, better than taking to landfill. Letting go of anything is never easy though.

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