Monday, November 28, 2016

Hitting a (Small) Wall

I had grand plans for the holiday weekend - to finally make a decision about all those keepsakes that I was certain I didn't really want to keep. But those plans dissolved quickly when I hit a small wall.

I had unentombed - disentombed? - one of my keepsake storage boxes under my media cabinet and was faced with hundreds of little decisions. Did I need this keychain from our previous apartment that I liked until we got a new keychain from our current apartment? Did I need this notebook filled with ideas of things to blog about, authors to keep an eye on, music to track down, books to read, blogs to follow? Did I need that physical photo that didn't quite fit in one of the put together albums even though I had both a scanned digital version of the image and a scanned digital version of the image from its negative?

I started taking photos of some of the items and papers I tossed. But I wasn't tossing many. And I started becoming frustrated that I needed to take a photo at all. Isn't it better to let some of those ideas, thoughts, or things slip into memory? Why keep a digital record when it will be just another form of mental clutter? Am I really letting go of something if I'm keeping an image of it around?

After about a two hour battle back and forth in my head I decided to seal everything up and put everything away for another day. Which, of course, got me frustrated all over again about my inability to make a decision.

A couple days later I really needed a "win" and so I grabbed a different small box/bin from the shelving unit in our closet in the hopes of finally getting rid of the last few things in that bin. But I couldn't quite make the decision about what to do with my small coin collection, an expensive pen I received as a gift but could never quite get around to buying replacement ink for, a bracelet I received but never wore and never would wear, a worry stone I got from a college professor that I liked but had no need of, the small replacement parts for my Nelson wall clocks that might be needed someday if I decided to take off the seconds hands or if they broke, and my iPhone box with unused headphones, cable and plug.

Some of these items have some value or could be valuable - money, jewelry, pen, etc. - while others are in the "someday" category - the iPhone box and accessories, the clock parts. And even if I were to get rid of some of them - gift them, donate them, sell them, toss them - I realized I wouldn't be able to empty the box. And so I gave up (temporarily) in defeat.

I'm at the point in the process where the decisions are either really easy or really, really hard. I want to just let go, to free myself of the burdens that my keepsakes have on me. I want to live life forward versus in the past. I'm just not sure how ready I am to take that next step - to discard without guilt or fear of regret or fear that something bad will happen, or to toss the notes and ideas without capturing them digitally in case someday I might want to move on that idea or thought or recall that I had it.

As I feel split down the middle I have to take a step back to assess. Because making a wrong decision will potentially cause me to hold on tighter to what is left. Which is the opposite of good.

I am just hopeful that I'll be able to climb up and over this small wall very soon so that I can keep moving forward in life and once and for all release myself from the trappings of the past.

To be continued...