Sometimes when trying to move forward an essential step is to sort through the clutter of your past. Both figuratively and literally. Over the past couple of weeks I have spend a lot of emotional energy trying to make sense of this past year and in someways I am starting to feel a little bit better. With that in mind, I felt like it was time to deal with the more concrete aspects of the past. (Not to mention that to if I plan on moving overseas, I had better get my house in order first. And by my house, I of course mean my parents house, namely my childhood bedroom.) And that is how I found myself surrounded by 24 years worth of collected items and the complex memories they hold.
Deep in the recesses of my closet, I found tickets to favorite shows, a wall mount telephone (!), all of my university course notes, love letters, birthday cards and of course photographs from every era of my life. And I can honestly say that somewhere among the dust bunnies and faded memories, I found some serenity. I realized that in each phase of my life I felt like that moment was the most important moment of my life. I felt like I would never feel that way again, like I would never ever forget the intense joy or the intense sorrow of that moment. But I was wrong. Because time marches slowly on and eventually everything fades into our past – both the good and the bad. So while I will hold on to that very special handmade 2nd year anniversary card, and the hysterical homemade drinking board game and the photo albums from my many wondrous trips, I will strive to let go of my hurt, resentment, fear and loss.
I think one of the lessons I learned today is that while a purge is often a necessary part of moving forward, there is something incredibly important about valuing our past and preserving our memories. And so I have decided to do two things. The first is to create a photo album to remember this past year. Most of those photos will be of me and the one I am trying to leave behind. They will show a year filled with laughter, adventure, and overwhelming, all-consuming love. I won’t pretend that there weren’t also times filled with tears, anger and heartbreak. But I now know that with enough time and distance, I will one day look at those photos and simply remember what made us great.
The second thing I have decided to do is document very simply and succinctly what I do each day. This idea was inspired by my grandparents who are filming their memoirs at age 86 and 88. Their memories are fanstastic and I love looking at their photos, but they repeatedly say they wish they had kept a better record while the stories were happening. So I will honor that wish and do so with my own life. A true account of the ups and downs, the adventures and the routine, the love and the loss. Just for me. (And maybe, just maybe, for my own grandkids. Because you just never know…)
Today I say yes to memories. Yes to remembering our happiest days as well as our saddest. Yes to documenting our lives – the good, the bad, the magical and the awe-inspiring.
Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that it will make sense, regardless of how it turns out.