I’ve been spending the week decluttering and organizing my house. For the most part I am relentless and unsentimental when it comes to the clutter. I’ve always been good at recognizing the difference between, say, tchotkes that belonged to my grandmother and my grandmother’s memory. I’ve never felt the need to keep it all.
And yet as I’m going through closets, bookshelves and cabinets pieces of my old self keep surfacing. It’s a bit like an archeological dig as I’m unearthing remnants of what feels like the very distant past. It wasn’t everything, I still don’t need to keep it all and for the most part I remained relentless. I would look at some things and be almost embarrassed that I’d even purchased them. Other things I tossed or put in the donation pile without a second thought. But a few things gave me pause. Giving them up feels impossible. I don’t need them, I don’t want them, I know I’ll never use them. But I simply can not let them go.
For now these things are resting in a small box in the corner of my closet. The contents of the box aren’t really important, it’s what they symbolize. In the last several years my worldview has evolved a lot; there are parts of myself that I have completely let go and will, in all likelihood, always remain in my past. I feel good about this and although it has taken some time I not only accept these changes, I embrace them, even relish them. But I am still not ready to let go of the tangible evidence of my old self. Even though I like my new self I just can’t bring myself to pretend that other part of me never existed.