.:: Letting Go of the Stuff
Not too long ago, I pulled out a bag of stuff with the intention of going through and disposing most of it. Maybe motivated by the show Hoarders, or perhaps just tired of seeing all the stuff – I figured it was high time to let go of notes and various memorabilia.
Several weeks passed without me touching the bag. Then, one morning I took the bag and dumped it out on my bed. I had a trash bag handy, ready to put most of the stuff in the trash. The first thing I picked up was a letter from one of my sisters, written to me during my first year in college. She wrote the letter seven days before giving birth to her first child. Immediately, I felt the tug to keep the letter. I moved on to the next letter, which was from another sister written during the same year of college. Another keeper. As I proceeded to go through the stuff, I found several letters from my family during my college years. I also found a letter from my Dad, letting me know that though a D in math wasn’t great – it was passing, and as long as I was doing my best, it was going to be OK. Yeah, that’s a keeper.
Though I managed to throw away a deflated balloon over 10yrs old, a few bar coasters and random receipts, I ended up keeping most everything that was in the bag. So, my attempt to ‘let go’ was not entirely successful.
“Your Dad’s note is sentimental.” Rob says, as I talk to him about it. “It should be kept.” “But why?” I ask. Rob doesn’t have an answer, and I don’t have an answer either. Still, I decide to keep my Dad’s letter, as well as the other letters from my family and friends. And, as I head downstairs to tackle the bigger boxes and bins, I continue to wonder why some things are kept.
Lifting the lid on a big blue bin, I see notes – tons of notes. Notes written in school, passed during class or slid in between a locker vent while changing classes. I found old holiday cards and letters; one letter I found was written by my best friend back in 1985. She wrote the letter to me, so I would have something to distract me on my first solo trip, which was to Philadelphia, PA by train.
Why did I keep these notes? And, can I toss these notes away? Distracted with the questions, I decide to hold off on the purging. When I go back upstairs I ask Rob, “Can you think of any reason why I should keep old notes?” I am fully expecting him to say ‘no’ quickly. Instead, he says, “If it means something to you, you should keep it.” “But why?” I ask him. Again, he can’t answer the ‘why’. More importantly, I can’t answer the ‘why’. And, if I can’t answer the ‘why’, then there is no reason to keep the notes. Right?
I go back downstairs and begin the purging project. While tossing notes, I stop to read one or five. Wow. What good times were had in my youth. What silly, crazy, funny and lame moments of time. My friend, Jen-a-ren, and I were crazy note writers. Such fun. And yes, within my collection, I found a stereotypical note seemingly passed during class, “What’s the farthest you’ve gone, and with whom?” It was my own ‘Sixteen Candles’ moment, I suppose.
Notes from high school, letters from summer friends and letters exchanged during my college years, all tell tales of a lived life. And, thrown in the mix of letters and notes are memos from roommates, as well as my parents. I found a post-it note from my Dad, which sums up a time when technology was changing. He wrote: “Please set the clock on the VCR. The microwave and wall clock are fine. Thanks, Dad.” Yep, I had parents that did not know how to set the clock on the VCR. And, yep, I kept that post-it note.
Oh, and in addition to the notes and letters were pictures. Lots of pictures. I kept the pictures. I always enjoy going back in time and looking at pictures.
Some of the better (and kept) finds of the purge?
Certificates given to me by Phat Daddy Smooth, one of the best wake boarders ever. Coincidentally, Phat Daddy Smooth is also known as Rob, my husband. Phat Daddy made certificates for all the wake boarders in our group, whenever they accomplished new tricks. For me, the tricks were simple: one handed wake boarding and going outside the wake. (Wild and crazy, that’s me!)
‘Wonder Pup Saves the Day’. A book written and illustrated by my friend and me, when we were in elementary school. My friend was a kick-ass artist. Her pictures were great. Unfortunately, she was absent on a day we had to turn in a page. I ended up tracing one of her previously drawn pages and well – it looks awful. Alas, the book and the memory still rocks!
A letter dated April 18, 1989 from my bestest friend, Carol. She typed the letter to me while at work. She mentions a guy named Eddie, apparently someone I was interested in at the time. After a paragraph or two of generalities, my friend lists several quotes she and I had said through the years. 20yrs later, and her letter makes me laugh out loud. “Excuse me, but Lenore just stapled her hand.” “Have you checked yet?”
Birthday cards from my Aunt Thelma. Many birthday cards from “my favorite aunt”. I am her bestest friend ever. Just ask me.
And finally, pictures. As I mentioned earlier, I love going back and looking at old pictures. Though I have many pictures of friends – old, new and long gone, the pictures of my family seem to matter most.
So, as I toss various forms of memorabilia out with the trash, I also say good-bye to 2010. Though 2010 won’t go down as ‘the best year ever’, I am certain – just as I have rediscovered wonderful memories from years gone by – I will pull out a treasure chest of fond memories from 2010, too. After all, this year was the start of my blog. Honestly, does it get any better than that?!
Happy New Year!
It’s that time again, when resolutions we make.
Celebrating past midnight, and getting a headache.
You wake in the morning to start a new year.
Planing to exercise more and drink less beer.
Is balance what you are determined to find?
Committing to quiet time to free your mind.
Do you plan to clear the clutter and mess?
Or, is your plan to play more and work less?
Before moving forward, I look to the past and say –
I will never forget the loved ones lost along the way.
In Loving Memory of James E. and Valentina
Happy New Year! Be kind, and take care of yourself and each other.