Guest Post: Expiration Dates

My friend Robin is lawyer but I don’t hold that against her (he said, alienating a fair number of his friends…).  She had some really interesting thoughts on the topic of holding on to the past that I asked her to share.  Hopefully you’ll find them as thought-provoking as I did.
Why is it that very few of the finer things in life have never-ending shelf lives? The old vintage bottle of wine…it stays safe and protected, buried deep down in the wine cellar until you decide to dig it out and pop the cork. Then its days are numbered. The time starts ticking away. A lovely French cheese, fresh fruit, and even bright light bulbs, they are all destined to burn out sooner rather than later. Even though you can replace these things, are they as good the second time around?
Why is it that so many things in life are perishable, only at their peak for a short while? More importantly, why do we seem to hold on to things that have long since reached their expiration dates? We know that using expired products is recipe for disaster. It is toxic and unhealthy. We understand that with food, but why doesn’t it click in other areas of our lives – business, relationships, or even wearing that old worn out pair of shoes that hurts our back? Do we honestly need a “good if used by” stamp on everything in our life so we know when to let things go? Would we be better off if there were some predetermined formula to tell us when it’s time to let go?
As I am cleaning out my office, I am amazed at all the “stuff” I have amassed. Most of it has long since expired, even if only in theory. I’m purging the outdated and irrelevant to make room more new possibilities, better opportunities. Why have I spent so much time and energy holding on to things that never really mattered? It is just because there was no expiration date? Because I didn’t know its shelf life? It’s much easier to discard something that has surpassed its expiration date than to make a conscious choice to throw something away without the guidance of a date. That date is like a security blanket.
With dates, there’s no questioning, no second guessing. You just know. You could enjoy things for the time they’re available, regardless of how long or short.  Why do I still have an address book from 2000 and a Rolodex from 2003 (Yes, I trashed both of them)? My office has moved four times since then. Did I seriously cart these things around? They are irrelevant.
If there’s any purpose to carrying around this much baggage, I have no clue what it is.
I think we all can probably do a little cleaning out of our offices and homes, don’t you?  New “stuff” awaits – you just need the room to let it into your life!  Thoughts?
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Filed under Helpful Hints, Reality checks

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