I was talking with a client about his clutter situation. He told me that he was hanging onto his journals from the past 12 years because they reminded of times when he was happier. He said that he often felt sad now.
I asked him what were the things that once made him happy. He said his wedding and honeymoon, and taking vacations. I asked if he could take a vacation now. He said work was so busy that he couldn't take a week off. He sounded tired and depressed.
I asked if he could go away with his wife for the weekend. He said he hadn't thought of that, but yes he could. He started to perk up. I suggested that he and his wife talk about where they would like to go and set a date. He was very excited at the idea.
I said that we sometimes get caught up in the ideal of how we think things should be. We think we can't be happy until we have that. When we do that we don't leave room for something else to happen that might be just as good or even better. I suggest that we enjoy the things that we have now. My client didn't have a week for vacation, but he did have a few days, and noticing them brought him joy. He was smiling and laughing. I said, "What's great is you can take these kind of honeymoons with your wife throughout your life."
I asked my client if he could now let go of the journals. He said yes. But then he couldn't think of where he'd last seen the journals. I think that since he was feeling happy now, his connection with his happy memories from the past lost their importance to him.