Shedding

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By Sandy Gil

Sunday Dunes

Saturday, June 21, 2014


AFTER recently having had my little home repaired and re-painted, I had to go through the tedious process of re-arranging its interior. And I have noticed that with senior citizenship just a few months away, I have become such a minimalist, shedding off the unnecessary and keeping the essentials - very much in the same manner as I've treated my social, and sometimes even my professional, life.

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First of all, I got rid of my three-seater sofa, not because it is too big for the tiny living room - but because when I sit on it, I have this tendency to fall... both sideways and asleep. This overly comfortable sofa has been replaced with a smaller two-seater sofa which is very slightly used, if used at all, since it had once served as a mere decorative space filler in my bedroom. While it is as cozy as the old sofa, it definitely limits my falling sideways and therefore sleep is no longer an obstacle in watching television.

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I have also gotten rid of the huge glass coffee table that used to sit in front of the old sofa. This table occupied almost half of the living room and does not serve much purpose, except for guests inevitably to bump into it and to hold totally useless dust collector items. I have no intentions of replacing it with anything, thus leaving a wide space in the living room.

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Shedding off the old sofa and its partner coffee table has really made a huge difference! With the new off-white walls replacing the pale yellow ones with stains that had started to look like the map of downtown Davao City, my little sanctuary has now the delusion of being big and spacious!

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And as my personal belongings began to leave their boxes and slowly return to their respective little corners, nooks and crannies, I carefully selected which should go and which should stay. Shed, shed, shed, I went. Finally, I sat and looked at my home... and panicked!
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The two table lamps I own, one for the living room and the other in the bedroom, looked minuscule, dilapidated and absolutely pathetic against the immaculate off-white setting. I had not noticed that both lamp shades had begun, if not were already, shedding off their original whiteness, growing yellow with age and blending with the old paint of the walls that had once been behind them. Worse yet, both lamps shades had cracked and looked forlorn. This will not do in such an immaculate setting, I told myself.

So I shed off my two table lamps, thanking them for the mood lighting service they had rendered for many years - and replaced them with real table lamps with shades made of durable cloth!

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Finally, the bathroom towels. I love thick, enormous and fluffy towels that seem to embrace me after a nice long bath. However, for someone who lives alone, I counted fourteen bath towels! More than half of these have seen better days though, when they had not yet shed off their terry fluff. So, away went the old bath towels, hand and face towels! Thank you and goodbye, I called out.

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It's quite amusing, this idea of shedding off - leaving what is essential to one's life. But what might be essential is not the same to all of us. I have a friend who defines essential as keeping good memories; I have problems with that since my memory is not too sharp anymore. I have another friend who thinks that what is essential are true friends; while another says that what is essential is what one needs and not what one wants.

The irony is that as the glorious and graceful aging begins, there are less needs - which means less essentials - which means shedding off what is no longer essential. Does one need true friends? Does one need good memories? When one sheds off, do new ones grow in place?

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Clearly, something must be wrong with me. Nothing seems to beat table lamps and bath towels...

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on June 22, 2014.

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