I was going through a client's storage room in his basement. He had a lot of artifacts from when he was a kid. There were about fifty record albums. There were multiple boxes of baseball and football cards. He also had posters of rock bands from the 70s rolled up in cardboard tubes. He came alive when he looked at these things. Though it wasn't a present aliveness. His eyes looked distant. There was sadness mixed with it. I asked him what he was feeling. He said he was excited to find these things, but he was also sad because that part of his life was gone. He became depressed.
I said, "What do you like about your life now?"
He snapped out of the dullness he was feeling. He thought about it, "I like my job. I started my own business. For the first time in my life I like what I do to make a living. I have a really good girlfriend. I really like being with her. I feel very healthy. I'm much more creative than I ever used to be. I have a lot more peace of mind than I ever used to have. I like where I live."
I said, "If I asked you the same question when you were a kid, you would have had the same enthusiasm for these things in your storage locker. But then things change and new things come into your life that mean something to you. What I've found is that by letting go of those things that used to matter to you, there's more of you to experience the things that matter to you now."
He understood. He took the old things in his storage locker and brought them to his car. We drove them to the Salvation Army. He donated them. As we drove back he said, "I feel light. I like this feeling. It feels like my life came back to life."