Is Mental or Emotional Junk Holding You Back?

Views and opinions expressed in Bob’s Blog are that of the author and do not purport to reflect the views and opinions of the Office on Aging or its staff. Posted 06-04-2024 

2024 has been a year of transition for me.

Since 2016, I have lived in an apartment.

We all have suffered from increasing prices. One of the areas hit hardest has been apartments.  Rent has gone out of sight – not only in the apartment complex I lived in but everywhere in Knox and surrounding counties.

Those who live in apartments have to sign a lease on an annual basis.  When a lease is signed, the apartment complex increases your rent.  At most times, the increase would be 4 to 5%.

That didn’t happen in 2022, 2023 or 2024.  The increase in 2022 was about 20%.  The increases in 2023 and 2024 were higher.

In 2022, I was told my rent was going up $300 a month.  I spoke to the manager of the apartment complex and negotiated the increase down to $100.

In 2023, I was told my rent would be going up about $500. The leasing agent also told me I had a premium apartment and they could charge over $800 a month for it.

Needless to Say, I Was Shocked

Rather than paying the increase, I had the option to extend my old lease for 9 additional months at the current rent.

I elected to do that. I also realized my rent would eventually rise to the market rate. and the management team would try to continue to raise it dramatically each year at least for the next several years.

I wasn’t happy. I started to plan to buy a home or condo and move by the time my extended lease expired. That would be in early May of 2024.

I planned my purchase. I started looking in January of 2024. I found a condo I liked and closed on the purchase at the end of March. Since the lease on my apartment wasn’t up until early May, I had plenty of time to move everything from my apartment to the condo.

I Thought I Had It Made

I figured the move would be easy.  I would move a lot of my stuff myself and would hire a Moving Company to move my furniture and heavier items

Needless to say, it didn’t work out as I had planned.  The guys from the Moving company were a blessing. They moved the furniture and bigger items quickly.

It took me much longer than I anticipated to move the smaller stuff.  I needed all of that time to get everything out of my apartment.  I didn’t finish moving the small stuff and cleaning my apartment until 2 days before I had to be out.

The boxes the guys from the moving company moved and many of the boxes I packed and moved myself were placed in the garage at the condo.  It seems like it’s taken me forever to unpack these and put everything where I want it.

The Main Reason – The Amount of Stuff I Had

By stuff I really mean what others would view as garbage or junk. I brought some of that with me from Illinois when I moved here in 2016. I accumulated more since then.

I have been going through it all. Some went to charitable organizations. I have thrown a lot out.  I should have gotten rid of it long ago.

I have to admit.  I still probably have hung onto more than I should have.  You know – You hate to get rid of something you might use at least once down the road.

As I was doing this, I had a realization.

Just as I Had Accumulated a Lot of Junk Over the Years, I Also Accumulated Quite a Bit of Mental and Emotional Junk.

I picked that up at different points during my life.

It started with my parents. As I grew, they told me things about myself that were not true.  It was unintentional but it did happen.  I held on to many for the longest time.

Then there were my aunts and uncles. When I was about 7, one aunt told my mom I would never amount to anything. I still remember the day she said it.  I was bound and determined to prove her wrong.

Then there were the kids at school.  I was never really a part of the “in” crowd.  I felt less than because of it.

Shortly after I graduated from college, I moved to New York City.  One of the guys at the company I worked for called me a hick because he heard I came from Pennsylvania. That was waste land. In his eyes, all of the United States was waste land from 30 miles west of New York City to the California state line.

During my adult life, I have had rocky relationships with the women closest to me. I don’t dare tell others about that because of the fear they will look down on me.

Over the years, I have lived in Pennsylvania, New York City, Detroit, Indianapolis, Wheaton, IL and now here in Knox County.

At Each Stop Along the Way, I Picked Up More Junk.

For quite a while after college, I never made any attempt to clear any of that mental and emotional junk out.  In fact, I just added more to it.

I finally reached the point where I realized all of it was holding me back and keeping me from experiencing the life I could have had.

I Started Working on Cleaning It Out in the Early 1990’s

Since then, I have done this through many different things – counseling, reading books, attending seminars and listening to tapes and podcasts.

I have made quite a bit of progress. A lot of the erroneous beliefs and bad habits are gone but I still have much further to go.  I continue to find new “old” junk which I have to free myself of if I am going to be totally free and have the life I really desire to have.

.Are You Like Me?

 Are You Carrying a Lot of Your Own Mental and Emotional Junk?

 How Is It Holding You Back From The Life You Desire?

 If you would, can I take you on a journey through your life from as far back as you can remember to right now?

I am going to ask you a series of questions.

Think about each one.

Were you told any lies about yourself? Did you pick up any mental or emotional junk? How is that holding you back? What steps can you take to get rid of it?

  • How did you feel around your parents as you grew up? Were you wanted? Did you feel they favored some of your siblings more than you?
  • Did your parents love you for who you were, look to see what you were good at and encourage you to follow your dreams? Or, Did they hope you were something else and try to get you to become someone you didn’t want to be?
  • Did the kids you grew up with appreciate you for being you or did you have to pretend to be someone else so that you could fit in with them?
  • What about when you were in school? Did your teachers encourage you to do all you could or did they imply that you would never amount to anything?
  • When you started to work, did you get the job you wanted? Was it one that allowed you to advance or was it a dead end, low paying job?
  • Were you able to advance during your working life or did you go from one low paying job to another without ever doing what you dreamed you could be doing?
  • When you went from one job to another, did you take any mental or emotional garbage with you? Are you still carrying that with you today?
  • How have you done in relationships? Did you settle and marry the person you could get or did you truly love them?
  • Have you been divorced? If you have been and remarried, did you marry a person with the same issues your prior spouse had and are you having the same challenges with them that you did with your prior spouse?
  • Do your friends appreciate you for who you are, encourage you to better yourself and support you when you make a mistake or fail? Or, do they put you down, tell you they told you would fail or criticize you when you make a mistake?
  • What about where you live? Are you happy with your home or do you live there because that’s all you can afford?
  • How’s your relationships with your children? Are they good or have things happened in the past which have put a strain on them? If there are problems, what junk do you have to get rid of to improve them?
  • If one or both of your parents are still alive, how well do you get along with them? If you don’t get along well, what can you do to change that?
  • What about your siblings? Did something happen recently or in the past which has caused you to grow apart?

As you reflected on your life and answered each of these questions, did you realize you have a lot of mental and emotional junk which has held you back from being the person you could have been, kept you from doing all you wanted and kept you from enjoying life to the fullest.

One thing you need to know – there may even be more junk there that you haven’t thought of.

Start Today to Get Rid of This Junk You Will Feel Better About Yourself You will Also Feel Freer

You can do some of the work yourself. You can get rid of some of it with help from your friends. For deeply embedded stuff, you may need counseling.

You may say you could never go to counseling.  Everyone would look down on you if they found out. They don’t have to know. If they did find out and look down you, is this a person who has your best interests in mind? Do you need them in your life?

You would be surprised at the number of people who get counseling.  They’re all doing it because they have a problem and they are tired of it holding them back.

You may be thinking you’re too old.

No One is Ever Too Old to Get Rid of Mental and Emotional Junk

Start today.  You will be happy you did.


If you have any comments on what you have read in this post, please email them to me. Also – if you have any ideas about subjects you would like to see discussed in future posts, please send me an email and let me know. My email address is