In the last week, I have had multiple conversations about the expectations of others. Mainly about the expectations held for me by my mother. And in case you are wondering, her thoughts for me are not the same as my own.

In the midst of these conversations, I have come to some realizations about myself and how I have been able to break free from these expectations that she holds. Eventually she will realize that I am doing things my way, and then I’ll have a new problem to deal with, but for now, I am focusing on me and what I can do in the present.

My mother has been “cleaning out her home” for years. And I keep inheriting things that she seems to think are important to us, even when we tell her we don’t want them. Her gift giving is no better. It has become a glaring revelation as to just how little she really knows me as a person and the physical things I would hold as valuable for some reason.

As we unpacked our home last fall and settled in from our move, we realized just how much we had that was given to us out of my mother doling out her possessions, or things I had been holding onto since childhood because I was expected to still find them important. Some of these things were packed up when I moved to college in 2001 and just now actually unpacked for the first time. Clearly, they aren’t that important.

Last week I took all of these unwanted items, and many more things from our home, to our local thrift store. That is right, I removed them from my home, my storage, my everything. And you know what? It was liberating, not just within the clutter aspect, but mentally liberating.

By removing the physical manifestations of my mother’s expectations of me, I was able to remove the mental turmoil of her expectations as well. So not only do I have an empty garage, I have a slightly more unoccupied mind. I have the clarity to sort through the other pieces of mental and emotional baggage I am carrying around.

Will my mother be happy when she finds out that I have given away these things? Probably not, but by the time she becomes aware of this if ever, I will be secure enough mentally that I will be able to explain myself. Will she understand my reasons? Probably not, and that is just something that she and I will both have to live with.

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