Farewell Wallet / Hello Future

By Margaret Davis Ghielmetti

Tiny tidying-up expert Marie Kondo would have me ask, “Does it spark joy?” about everything single thing I owned.


Oh, I read her book when it first came out years ago, and I agreed with it! In theory. For everyone else.


But back then I was busy caring for my elderly parents. Then caring for their things once they’d died, including all their beautiful books. I wasn’t thinking about joy. I was trudging through grief.


This year, though, when some time had passed and Marie came out with her Netflix series, I binge-watched it and I heard something new: what did I want to take into my future with me?


After years of just trying to get through the present, I was ready to look ahead.


I started small. With a tattered, battered wallet I’d kept for decades (the way I kept most clothing because I was what’s called a “classic” dresser. Which really meant that I was never in style, so I never went out of style, and I kept things for freakin’-ever.)


But this wallet had done its job, traveling with me to fifty countries as I lived on four continents.


I held it. Thanked it for having carried my euros, pesos, and rupees. Placed it gently in our kitchen garbage can. Since I had a Trader Joe’s bouquet also past its prime, I sprinkled rose petals over it.


When I told my big brother about this, he said, “Great. My sister’s the nut who gave her wallet a funeral.”


True enough.


But it felt good to honor something that had brought me joy — then to let it go.


That gave me the strength to start letting go of other things. I donated pants and tops and shoes.  (Not my scarves: I will keep my gazillion scarves ’til the day I die, thank you very much.)


I do find that, now, I am spending less time feeling guilty for holding on to things I wasn’t using.


And more time creating the future I want: telling stories to connect with an audience, sharing photos of beauty everywhere, and finishing — at last — my memoir about living around the world.


Now, that does spark joy for me.