I wonder why I keep so much stuff? Today I found some time to try to have a clear out. Old debit cards, receipts and catalogues soon made a pile on the floor.
I know I have a habit of holding on to things. It’s as if I don’t trust my memory as time passes. Yet how often do I look back at those items? In a box were the bank papers from my mother’s death, the probate papers from my father’s along with some school records for my daughter. Piled in were old business accounts long past the ‘keep for tax purposes’ dates. Some programmes from the theatre. A 2008 magazine from a Spiritualist church. All packed away and never revisited. Certainly time to throw some of them away.
That’s what caught me though. I still feel like there are some items I can’t part with. Why? Thinking about that today as I sifted through the items I felt that some memories still have energy. They still ping for me. The papers for my mum, dad and daughter mostly stayed. The old programmes and magazines went into the recycling pile. Sometimes paper or objects are the closest I can get to the feel of that time. To the memories I want to keep fresh. It’s as if having something physical can help me hold onto that person and that time in my life. Especially when the people involved are no longer around.
I found I couldn’t throw away a card from a dear friend. He hasn’t been in my life for fifteen years. But the memories of the the time we shared are still vivid.
I wondered, as I put the card back in the box, when the time might come to throw it away. Perhaps when he has faded a bit further into the background of my life. Because that’s what happens. We share our time with one another. Then it’s time to move on. Ultimately, death is the great mover on. When I’m gone the stuff in the boxes will have no meaning really. The connections I made will fade genetly away. Except to those closest to me all the events of my life will disappear. I thought how fitting that was really. Life isn’t about great memorials or lasting legacies. It’s about experiences that make memories.
I find that a comforting thought. It means that I can relax and enjoy my life. I don’t have to be someone who leaves their mark. I can get on with doing what I do. It’s possible to be me without any ambition to be ‘someone’. Even this moment of writing this blog will fade. It’s impact will disappear. The thoughts I’ve held in my head today will be tidied away, stored for a while and then released. I will enjoy the memory of sharing tonight’s evening meal outdoors with my daughter for a while. Then that too will fade with time. Perhaps after all what matters is the moment. Is it a good one? It will be in my memory for a longer while if it is. Then other moments will gently replace it. Time to empty more stuff from my memory box!
Day 549 of my blogging challenge