Friday, November 18, 2016

The Keepsakes

The things I cling most tightly to are those that are associated with memories of loved ones past and present and events and experiences I had.

Photos and keepsakes take up a few/several bins in my closet and in my media cabinet. But fear of their damage means they're "cocooned" with no easy way to access them.

And I both love and hate that I have these items.

Some of them bring back fond memories of things I've done. Some of them bring back painful memories of what I've lost. And a few of them are forgotten moments that I'll likely never remember even with the reminder.

Some days I'm glad for these memories, both bad and good. Some days I wish I could just move beyond them and live my life forward.

It's worse in recent years with the ease of digital photography and video. Thousands of "memories" can be captured and collected never to be forgotten.

The collector in me loves that I have tens of thousands of images, several photo albums and a dozen or so scrapbooks. But the me that's striving for minimal wishes maybe I didn't have quite so much baggage.

Aside from the fact that I have to worry about, keep and clean and carry these items, there's a weighty emotional component attached to them.

With all these "reminders" memories can't fade over time. They are brought back with all the clarity they had moments after they happened. Instead of having a handful of memories of a time gone by, they are a huge presence in the present. And sometimes they're a tether to the past that won't let me move on.

In my years of attempting to simplify my life I've managed to chip away at the "heap" of keepsakes I'd toted around with me from place to place. But as the "heap" got smaller, it's become so much harder to reduce.

Perhaps if I were less of a gypsy and found a home with a nice, safe spot for them in a small, out of the way closet, I wouldn't think so much about these things. But that's not my life now, and isn't likely to be my life anytime soon. And so I obsess over these things, these memories, that aren't allowed to fade into my past.

I have digitized many of these items which should allow me the freedom to throw out the physical version as I have down with other items I've parted with. But yet I am not quite yet ready to trust the digital medium for these "treasures."

Most treasured are those that once belonged to someone or were given to me by someone no longer in my life. These, I suppose, are the most difficult to consider parting with as there are no future gifts or memories forthcoming from them.

As much as I try to remind myself that these are just things, I always counter with the fact that they are their things. And just the mere act of going through them brings on an enormous amount of pain and leaves me frozen, at a standstill.

I wish I could be less sentimental. I am fighting hard to be less clingy. But it has not been easy. Because I care deeply for those who have been important parts of my life and letting go or moving on is antithetical to who I am, who I've been. And somehow I've managed to get it all twisted up in my head that letting go of their things means I'm letting go of them.

Perhaps, for now, I'll set this battle aside. A Thursday evening does not seem the best time to attempt to tackle this problem.

And so I'll just have to take the few minutes needed to dust off the bins, move them aside to vacuum, and check to make sure that the protective wrap hasn't been breached on them and those in my media cabinet. And I'll just have to wish that next time I'll have a little more strength, a little more clarity and rationality and insight into myself to be able to finally chip away at the heap of keepsakes in my possession.

To be continued...