What would happen if I didn’t go through that stack?
I’m not talking about the mail on the counter or my clothes on the chair. I am still perseverating about that stack in the garage and the shelves in my old office. Do I need to look inside the boxes marked “household décor” when I am confident that my favorites are already in my house? Do I need to sort through boxes of books to see if one book is worth $20 when I could release myself and let a favorite charity make the money?
Do I really think that all of the negatives and slides from my “photographer” days are comparable to the work of Ansel Adams and should be saved for posterity? Should my notes on articles I wrote in my twenties and thirties be archived? Duh!
I know there are boxes that need sorting in the search for treasures. But what is a treasure after all?
What would happen if I didn’t save that libretto from my first opera? Would opera still be my favorite music? Would I still cherish the memories of the trip with my best friend ever?
What would happen if I didn’t keep the piece of lace from my prom dress? Would I still remember dancing with my head on my future husband’s shoulder as Sam Cooke sang, “You Send Me”?
My first sister who died was my stockbroker. What would happen if I threw away her business card and the little post it note with her handwriting, “sign here”? Would she still be a part of my family history?
Of course, I want photos of those people who have been a part of my life. But do I need photocopies of relatives I never knew and who mean nothing to me, let alone my children and grandchildren? Do I need a ticket stub proving I went to Paris in 1985? Can I relinquish the 10 bibles with my father’s name inside since every one of his descendants has his or her signed copy? Yes I can.
I have had a true epiphany.
I can relinquish the mementos of the past that clutter my present life. The relationships and the events made me who I am. The physical evidence of past occurrences does not change me now. If I forget any or all, they will still have made me who I am.
What a concept. I can shed the weight of the past and make room for the future. I can wave my empty arms in this present moment to beckon whatever is out there for me.
I’m on my way!