This weekend has been killer. How in the world are you supposed to discard memories?? I’m a huge photograph junkie…in fact, deep down I long to be an amazing photographer – but I’m not. I’m just ok. I know enough to take pretty decent photos of our family, but nothing amazing. I’m always so fond of photographers that can create these amazing shots out of a rather boring setting. Photography is one of my favorite art forms that I truly appreciate. Growing up, my parents didn’t take very many photos of me and my brother – there are some, but film and development was a lot more expensive and there was no such thing as a digital photo. Because I have a bad memory, I have a very hard time remembering a special event or situation unless there was a photo taken to help jog my memory. I think because my parents took so few photos, I’ve made it a point to take as many as I can of my kids and my life so that I can always remember all the fun things we did.
I tend to give photographic momentos as gifts to people – because I always seem to have that perfect photo of a fun memory me and the recipient shared. I think these types of gifts are the best type of gifts. I have a boxes and boxes of prints, ticket stubs, cards, letters, award certificates, brochures, maps, etc. of all sorts of grand adventures and trips and special occasions that I’ve experienced because memories and the people I’ve shared them with are a huge part of what I treasure about my life. While there are many great memories in these boxes, there are also some painful ones. Going through just one box of photos is emotionally draining.
This weekend I decided to tackle the gigantic stack of memories that I need to sort through. I started with some of the great memories – like my wedding! What a lovely day that was, I even found a copy of my wedding vows! I had no idea I saved a printed copy all these years – I’m pretty sure it’s straight out of my dad’s Bible, as he was the one who married us and there are also a few handwritten notes in his handwriting. What a blessing to discover these! It was fun to read what we actually said to each other because the whole ceremony was all a blur and my poor husband was so nervous that he almost fainted while we stood there at the altar! J
I did find a gigantic pile of cards we were given for our wedding and as I read through some of them, I’m sad to say that I don’t even remember who some of the people are – there were quite a few that were signed with only a first name. While I’m so thankful for all the amazing people we shared our wedding day with almost 15 years ago, I don’t need to hold on to all those cards. It was easy to use Marie Kondo’s method of thanking the cards for their purpose they served at the time and it was even easier to discard them. I also found about 50 extra copies of our wedding invitations and wedding program – I don’t need to keep that many copies – I saved a few of each and discarded the rest.
The emotional part came when I found some old letters from my college days. College was a hard time for me and clearly there were a lot of emotions that I struggled through and reliving them now as an adult is even harder. It’s emotional, and draining and very stressful. I’m honestly struggling with how to process some of the emotions that are coming up looking at all this stuff. I catch myself wondering why in the world I saved the letters to begin with. Do they spark joy? Absolutely not. They make my heart beat fast, they cause me to panic and sweat – and without even reading them again, I just want them gone. I don’t need to go there – I’m older, wiser, and more mature now and don’t need to hold onto the memories of the dumb mistakes I made.
I’m sure you all have stuff like this that is just not necessary to hold onto anymore – maybe a card or love letter from an old boyfriend, or even photographs of a past relationship? Or maybe old letters from a deceased family member, or even a letter from a parent. Memories are a good thing, we need to learn from them and grow, not hold on to them and stay stuck in the past.
I had no idea when I decided to tidy my house that I would be about 6 weeks into the project and still feel like I had so much to left to do. I’ve only scratched the surface of my momentos and I only lasted about an hour before I had to stop. It’s going to take me some time to go through them all and deal with the past. I’m hoping to finish this job quickly, but I notice another side effect of all the emotions that are being stirred up – my back pain. It gets so much worse when I’m walking down memory lane. I’m trying so hard to heal my back and get back to life, but I can see my body dealing with some of these hard memories by aggravating the pain in my back. It’s crazy, but I know there is a connection, and without being able to strap on my Adidas and run off my stress like I usually do, I don’t have a lot of recourse to deal with the that old memories are causing me. I may just put all my momentos in a box and deal with them in 6 months. J
This whole tidying journey has been truly that…a journey. It’s been amazing, liberating, time-consuming, and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It’s so much more than just cleaning up your house, it’s a way of cleaning up your whole life. Opening doors in your heart that you have kept closed for many years. Cleaning out the cobwebs in your soul that you had no idea needed to be cleaned. It’s a deep journey and I even though I wanted the process to go so much faster and be over and done with – it’s going to take me a while. I’m ok with that. I’m super proud of myself for sticking with it the last 6 weeks, and I’m going to see myself all the way through it. I feel like God has called me to this journey at this specific time in my life, as a means of growing me and refining me and helping me to see things about myself that I’ve never seen before. I’m thankful, humbled, and a bit overwhelmed, but determined to finish.
Officially my mind is blown.