I’ve spent part of my day packing and part sitting on the couch avoiding packing. Tomorrow and the day after a friend will come over to help me, but I need to sort through the garbage first. It’s such an ego kick every time I do this because I have very little choice but to designate my life into a few select categories: Keep, Toss, or Donate.
This can be a cathartic experience and it will be for me, but with a hint of regret. I have been meaning to go through my home and make the choice to eliminate the clutter for a while, but there are boxes that I still have trouble going through. There has been a box in my living room for 2 years now that has all of the remnants of my office, from the job that I was laid off from, and I haven’t been able to bring myself to go through it. I’m sure that 99% of it is garbage, but it seems like to acknowledge that fact makes it real and not a memory that I can forget. Yes, it’s a screwy way of thinking about it- i.e. if I get rid of it it won’t be in my face- but there’s also a part of me that doesn’t want to forget exactly how that felt and also still doesn’t believe that I’ve learned the lesson that I was meant to from the experience, hence the reminder.
Designating the things that you hold on to as “Toss” is also a tricky thing. What qualifies the things that have been given to us or that we’ve brought into our home as expendable? I was going through a drawer a couple of weeks ago to pull some things that I was passing on to a friend and came across a valentines day gift that an old boyfriend had given to me. He and I didn’t implode, we just didn’t continue, or more to the point, I didn’t continue the relationship with him, but it was civil. I’d held on to it because it was a memory, but as I looked at it, I heard my brain saying- you really don’t need to take that with you. I knew that I didn’t want to display the object (a lovely carved stone piece) and I knew that it was silly to throw it away, so I passed it on. My kitchen, one of my loves, is being handed down to another friend who is moving into her own place within the next year, so I’m boxing that up for her. But the vast majority of the things in my home are going to be thrown into the dumpster tomorrow after the truck comes to empty it.
Why do we choose to keep some things and not others? When we purchase things, it’s never with the intention of tiring of them and tossing it away, but isn’t that exactly what we all do at least half of the time? I’m keeping books and knitting/crochet supplies. I’ve got a jewelry box that will hold the little and not valuable jewelry that I own, my mixer, stuff that I cannot easily replace and that I still have a viable use for. But the reason that this is so painful is that each time I do this, I seem to be getting rid of more and more of the items I’ve had for years that were designated as sentimental. I look at them now and I can’t remember why I’ve held on to the item, or I just know that it’s silly to keep carrying it and that hurts- it’s like throwing away your past as unimportant even though you know darned well that it is not the case.
There is also the delusion that we all live under when a big move takes place that it’s a brand new start and that it’s the time to fix the things about yourself that you don’t like, etc… My mother told me that every time we moved, that I could become a new person by leaving the old one in whatever state we were leaving. I determined by the time that I got to high school that I don’t have the energy to become someone new every time we move, I am only able to be me, and unfortunately that is not a very popular, likeable, or even easy to know person. I’m cold, sarcastic, guarded, and in my own world most of the time because I have no expectation that anyone really cares what I do or have to say. In a way, that’s why I continue to blog, knowing full well that I really don’t have many readers- I just need to feel like I’m attempting to communicating in an unobtrusive way I guess.
Getting back to the point- moving is never easy for anyone, but it does present an opportunity. Not that you need to reinvent yourself if you don’t want to, it provides an opportunity to take those things that you regret and be a better person in a place with a much shorter memory. You can learn from your mistakes and make new ones while hopefully using the lessons you’ve learned up to that point to mitigate the damage that your new mistakes will cause. Because, after all, life is messy, it’s very often painful, and if it doesn’t hurt like hell every so often, then you really aren’t living and can’t appreciate the beauty around you. Take the time to remind yourself that the future is only what you make of it, so stop and think about how you can make it a better place to be.