Donna Ryan / Lifestyle & Retirement

Deep Cleaning

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We spring ahead and the days are once again longer.  I smile as I pull open the blinds on my kitchen window and look out to the backyard and see my flower pots.  Right now they are peeking out from under the melting snow but it will not be long until they are filled with every shade of yellow, pink, orange, purple and red that I can find.

Some call this the time of year for spring cleaning but months ago I began the chore of deep cleaning which for me is an everyday project.

Luckily my husband and I do not have material clutter.  We learned the lesson years ago breaking up homes of loved ones not to get attached to stuff.   Material stuff that is at least.  My deep cleaning project involved tossing the emotional clutter I have been lugging around for way too long.

Despite the happy smile and loud enthusiastic personality in truth on the inside I was a broken winged bird.  I watched people eating in restaurants, going on airplanes, calling friends and getting together, even something as simple as getting on a bus alone caused me grief.  I wished I could do that too.     Thankfully I read inspiration every morning and one day came across a line that said once our dreams are gone and we have no new goals we become old.  I knew it was time to redefine the old beliefs but figuring out how to start was one of the scariest deep cleaning projects I ever did.

I began saying yes!  Yes I will volunteer at church; yes we can definitely take over making the Thanksgiving dinners for the homebound.  Yes, I went back to church.  Attending mass every Sunday and praying and listening to the priest speak was my first road to healing.  I smile thinking of how we wave to each other as we are a part of something larger than ourselves.  I was scared to death on Thanksgiving when I knew my husband and I were responsible for the orchestrating of a task that was done so well for years by a parish family that was a huge part of of the church community.    I felt so inexperienced and asked myself many nights what are we doing????  Spring forward; it went so well.   We felt wonderful having done something nice for others.  I saw a glimmer of confidence which got me wanting to deep clean even more.

Yoga has been a wonderful help to deep clean the emotional clutter.   Breathing and realizing we are all good and perfect as we are is something I look forward to hearing every Thursday night.

We get set on how things “should” be in life.  Sometimes we get trapped in the fear of not being perfect and worry what others will think of us if we fail.  Through the process of major deep cleaning I now see no matter how hard I try, people will define me in all sorts of ways.   I now believe the only definition of me that matters is MINE.

Today I feel ready to begin rolling up my sleeves to join the world of Spring cleaning.  I am looking forward to rearranging bedroom furniture and getting the lighter linens out of the cedar chest.  I laughed with my husband the other day and said I think it is time we add some clutter around here.  That bookshelf is looking very boring.  We sit together looking at magazines and catalogs and jot down ideas for brighter throw pillows and matching accentuating pieces to brighten up the tan safe walls we are living in.  Our homes are a reflection of who we are and while it is fine we are conservative it is time to break the barrier.  Show the world how colorful and fun we really are.

There are many colors inside the Crayola box and I am looking forward to testing out all the shades.  I already know many bus schedules and have even travelled on a few, I have been eating in countless restaurants with all sorts of foods, I have reconnected with dear old friends I would not have back in my life had I declined a school reunion months ago.   I made airline reservations to go see my family and I am traveling ALONE FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER!!

I will be nervous boarding the flight but I know just like the fear I had Thanksgiving morning that I will be fine!  I still have work to do but I can see the wings are getting stronger every day.  The hardest part of deep cleaning is making the decision and taking the first step.

I learned when I live in the past or worry about what people are saying about me in the present I am cluttering my soul.  In order to say hello to the future I must rid myself of the stinking thinking.

I said to someone the other day I do not know what happened to me but I feel like I am finally starting to live.

The girl that got in her own way for too many years now enjoys walking in the sunshine and smiling at her fearless shadow as she looks for more ways to deep clean her world.  Something tells me this year the shades of yellow, orange, purple, pink and red she will be choosing to fill the flower pots will be more beautiful than ever as finally she is deep cleaning and tossing the snow within her away for good.
Editor’s Note:  Visit AFL member Donna Ryan at her website:  She says, “I have always thrived on inspiration. I love reading it everywhere I can find it. I am 55 and it has been a journey with many twists and turns. I invite all 50+ women to join me in discussions on this second chapter. Our road ahead is fun and exciting because these truly are the best days of our lives.”

I thrive on inspiration; I read it every day and I try to live and share it through my actions. Stepping out of our comfort zone can be very frightening. I have learned that I will never grow if I don’t face fear! I encourage all women to join me on this sometimes weird and scary adventure. Let’s discuss all sorts of things from makeup colors, to recipes, books, funny jokes and everything in between. We are on this journey together so let’s gather around and share our stories, dreams, and goals as well as happy and sad times too. You name it; we can do it! We are fifty something and these are the best days of our lives. No matter what the circumstances you are living you are only a keystroke away from friends that care! So join the circle of the 50plusstickingtogether friendship chain. Let’s keep learning, growing and inspiring each other together. It’s Never Too Late!!! Visit AFL member Donna Ryan at her website:

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