“Observing One Of The Most Important Days Of The Year”

There are many important holidays and anniversaries that we celebrate – religious, patriotic, and commemorations. Some apply to a rather small group of individuals connected to the experience, and some apply to the entire country. Regardless, the day that is upon us now – an annual observance – is important for a few different mental health and aging in place reasons. 

This day isn’t one very many calendars, yet it is quite important for what it represents. No one takes time off work – although it would be a good idea to close the doors in observance of this day. No one takes any trips, visits relatives, or drops in on friends or neighbors to help them celebrate or share in the experience.

What can be such an important day yet one that is little known or heard of and commemorated by so few people? What day can mean so much but can slip by entirely unnoticed? It’s “Good Riddance Day” – annually observed tomorrow, December 28th.

According to Wikipedia, “Good Riddance Day” began a decade ago in 2007 (but who knows if it may have existed in other forms and places earlier?) in Times Square, New York City. People gather at noon and bring a list of grievances with them to dump collectively into a large shredder and be done with them.

While this may be how the concept got started and how it continues, there are two other very important ways to apply this concept. One will be covered here, and the second will be discussed tomorrow on the actual day of the observance.

Both of these concepts that emanate from the idea of “good riddance” are ones for us to use in our aging in place businesses. The first concerns the stuff that we and our clients amass. If we have never participated in “Good Riddance Day” in this form previously, there is only so much we can do. If we observed the day last year or at some other time, we can continue from that point. Most people are going to be first-timers at this event.

The idea of good riddance as it applies to our stuff is to recognize that much of what we have been hanging onto is not worth our time, energy, or space in our homes to continue storing it and keeping it. Some people have so much stuff they have collected – consciously or what has just happened over the years – that every available storage area in their home is full – closets, dressers, cabinets, attic, basements, garages, and sheds. Many people rent additional off-site storage space and then rarely visit those places to retrieve, look at, rotate, or connect with the stuff that essentially has been exiled from their homes.

There comes a point when – as nice as it is to have tangible memories of events in our lives and those of our children, grandchildren, relatives, and friends – we have to take a hard look at just how much we are holding onto and how realistic it is to continue keeping as much as we have. No one is suggesting that everything be tossed out but that the amount be pared back to a more reasonable, appropriate level for the storage space that we have and for our ability to look at and appreciate the items we have retained. If we have so much that most of it is stored away in boxes or containers that we rarely look at or open, those keepsakes aren’t doing us much good except just to know that we have them. It might be time to begin releasing some of the lesser important items or ones that don’t hold the memories anymore that they once did.

This is using “Good Riddance Day” to our advantage – as motivation to take steps to reduce the amount of stuff we are keeping. There is no judgment here. No one is saying that any specific items need to be discarded, donated, sold, or otherwise dispensed of – it’s just a good reason to close out this year and begin the next one with fewer items to maintain.

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