Recently, I read a book about tidying up. The book's author, Marie Kondo, implores readers to hold every object in their lives in their hands, one after another, and part ways with any that don't spark a "thrill of joy." Kondo acknowledges that there will be friction along the way, but insists that "when we really delve into the reasons why we can't let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or a fear for the future." Either resistance can be overcome:
When you come across something that you cannot part with, think carefully about its true purpose in your life. You'll be surprised at how many of the things you possess have already fulfilled their role. By acknowledging their contribution and letting them go with gratitude, you will be able to truly put the things you own, and your life, in order. In the end, all that will remain are the things that you truly treasure.
Here, at the end of a year spent trying to move past forever projects, Kondo's message hit home. This is what I need to do next: hold every project, every object, every belief in my hands—one after another—and ask, does this stand for joy, obligation, or fear? And if it's time to let go, I will.