Eularee Smith
Writer & Educator

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Purging in the New Year

A bit of a cliche to say that I am ringing out the old and ringing in the new. In truth, most everything is old, these days. A year of struggling to manage the pieces of my life into some sort of organized chaos, I finally feel the need to push forward.

Spent the precious few down days from work over the holidays to purge my studio. What was supposed to be a few hours, turned into a long day of indecision, fond memories and disbelief at how much one accumulates over their career. 

No, this is not my retirement swan song, but rather a time to reflect on what is past and most likely never to return. As a music teacher, and during a time of little if any computer resources, I compiled binders filled with lesson plans, file folders of lab assignments, and theory games. I re-purposed old games, creating new cards or boards with theory modules. There they were, up in the closet, covered in dust and waiting for me to re-discover.

I laughed at the hours I spent brainstorming new ways to engage children in the wonderful world of music. With my focus in new directions, the question became what to do with all of this work. Does it become recycled or re-purposed? Does it go into the thrift store box or back on the shelf only to gather more dust?

Mind you, this is only one closet of three, that I must wade through. Relics of teaching past come to haunt me. Like me, dusty, old and worn. Oh yes, here it comes. Time to reflect on all that has come before, the mistakes, the wrong decisions and paths not traveled. Isn't that what purging is for? Please don't tell me I spent an entire day, one closet and a long walk down memory lane only to find myself in the same place.

The new year begins, with a less cluttered closet. More importantly, it begins with a clear vision of the path I would like to travel. Not that I have not been writing this past year. I have written, composed music and directed two children's plays. I have worked with my mother on compiling and editing two decades of my father's columns for publication. My writing has not stopped, just been diverted.

I still teach music, although not to the extent the binders would demand. That's ok. They have a home, despite their yellowed aging contents. What is old, may not become new, but it certainly is worth revamping.   

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