Thursday, January 19, 2017

Unable to Let Go

I've written before about my love-hate relationship with my keepsakes. But as it's an ongoing problem I have a bit more to say about them and my inability to part with them.

As I've mentioned before, my lifestyle is a bit nomadic. I don't own a home and I don't stay very long (typically) in the apartments I rent, so I always feel the need to be ready to go at a moment's notice. Which is a challenge with boxes and bins of keepsakes.

Also because I live in an apartment I am forever thinking about the fact that not everyone is as clean or organized as I am and may bring pests with them which will infest my things.

Thankfully much of what I own is easy to maintain and keep an eye on - wood furniture can be dusted and polished, linens and clothes and dishes can be washed. But the keepsakes are things that don't get used frequently and so need to be stored carefully to avoid potential damage or infestation - which is a challenge and a burden.

At one point I had the "perfect" shelf to house my photo albums, storage boxes, and scrapbooks. It worked well for a time but things like dust and sun damage became a concern when my need to look at these things on a regular basis lessened. And so I found that keeping these things wrapped up and out of the sun's harmful rays was better. But it meant that I had little to no access to these things and they started to feel like burdens instead of treasured keepsakes with each and every move.

And while these storage "solutions" are very nice to look at when on display, they aren't on display anymore. Ever. And they are digitized so I could technically toss them all without "losing" them.

But in my head it's not the same. Having a tangible album or scrapbook to peruse makes me feel more connected to the memories. So I've been unable to discard what amounts to four file boxes filed with scrapbooks, cards, and photo albums. Even though most days I wish I could make that leap. Especially with the photos.

My other "keepsakes" are less cut and dry and hard to purge or even make a decision about.

I have five journals filled with old thoughts that I don't want to look at necessarily but am not sure I want to discard. I have two cassette mix tapes made my guy for me that were digitized but there's something to be said for the originals. I have six video tapes with home movies (also digitized) but they contain footage of those no longer with us. I have an oversized album and a mini album with photos given to me by my parents that while digitized are definitely not as unique looking as the originals. I have a portfolio filled with film negatives of pictures I have both in print and digitally. I have several small random items that don't fit in a scrapbook as well as an oversized diploma that doesn't.

All these things live in pretty storage boxes in the media cabinet in my living room, wrapped up tightly and protected against any potential harm but earthquake or fire. And while loved to many degrees, they are weighty to own.

And then there's the "memorial" keepsakes which take up space in a couple of bins an outdoor small storage closet (that mostly houses sleeping bags) that I can't even bring myself to look through. Or think about. Even though I know I should purge many of these things as keeping the things won't bring them back. But, once again, I'm not ready to let go.

Though I really should. Because living life forward is what matters. Living life in the past isn't living. And holding onto pain isn't healthy.

Letting go is good. But I've lost a lot in the past several years and I know that I'll be losing a lot more in the next few years. And so I've been particularly clingy. And parting with these things of my past, especially those that are connected to loved ones living or gone, is too hard right now.

Logic does not prevail.

Though I know that letting go of all the things does not mean letting go of the one they belonged to. And I know that letting go of a physical item is more than fine when I have its digital counterpart. And I know that in the long run I will feel much freer to have let go.

But I just can't right now. No matter how much I wish I could.

Though I wish I could then simply not worry about it for now, stick a pin in it, push it to the back of my mind, like so many can. However, as that type of thought process doesn't come naturally to me I'll have to do some research on how best to do this.

And I'll have to focus on the two remaining areas of my life's stuffs that need minimalizing - my digital clutter and what remain of my "important" papers. Neither task will be easy though I have made the decision to just click "delete" on much of my digital clutter, starting with time machine backups for two computers I don't even own anymore. Off to do that now.

To be continued...