One of my current projects is to de-clutter my apartment. It sounds simple enough, until you factor in the fact that I have boxes and boxes of old clothing, books, and everything else imaginable still unpacked from my last several moves. These boxes had been in storage until recently, but now it’s all here–filling up the second bedroom from wall to wall!
I’ve always been sentimental, so it’s hard for me to throw away anything that reminds me of good times. I have half a dozen shoeboxes full of old letters and notes from friends and family, photos, travel brochures, programs and ticket stubs. And then there are the journals…
I grew up in a family where there was a lot of tension under the surface, so the safest way I could express myself was through the pages of my journals. These journals chronicled the ups and downs of my life for over a decade–my secret hopes and dreams, my relentless self-criticism, feelings of frustration, confusion, and loneliness– in scribbled entries, poems, and stories.
I never thought I would want to get rid of these records. They contained so much of who I was and what I’ve worked so hard to overcome. But flipping through page after page of my scrawled writing, I saw the same dark themes emerging over and over again. I had felt stuck, confused, worthless… I had struggled with these demons over and over again… and still do, occasionally. What would be the point of holding on to this negativity?
So I’m letting go. I don’t need to define myself by what I’ve been through or how I’ve struggled. There is so much more to life, and I need to clear out the past to open myself up to what will come next… in a very literal sense! (There is no physical space for these boxes of journals, and I need to make way for the office that room is supposed to become!)
So, here’s to letting to of the past… and hopefully, to the more positive things to come!