Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cleaning Up by Letting Go

(This isn't directly related to the overall "theme" of the blog, but I find it relevant in its own way... judge for yourselves :)

Sometimes it's really interesting what you learn by realizing how far you had to come.

With a few days left before I set out on my little adventure I've taken it upon myself to start taking care of my odds and ends about the house. Cleaning up my boxes in the attic, tidying the chaos in the basement, going through all those filing cabinets and desk drawers in my bedroom. I started (sort of) with the basement, which quickly dead-ended me. I moved on to the attic, which nearly immediately exhausted me (not to mention nearly froze me to death). A few days ago I opened my bottom desk drawer and realized that I had been unable to actually open it without some kind of minor rearrangement/organizational surgery for at least two years. So I set about cleaning it out. There were hoarded haiku from middle school, homework from tenth grade algebra, tacky stationary with fluffy cats and frouffy quotes inside which I would assuredly never use. I pulled out the recycling bin and got to work.

About two hours later I was surrounded by piles of old photos, old letters, and homework from who-knows-when which was immediately relegated to the bin. Let me just say, I was a huge nerd when I was a kid.

I saved e v e r y t h i n g . I mean, papers from sixth grade about A Tale of Two Cities? Poems I wrote as an anxious and lame seventh grader? Doodles from high school? My old planners? I mean really? The realization I came to after all this was that for whatever reason, these were all things I thought one day I would like to see. That I would need to be reminded of every competition I was in as a musician, every certificate I won for Best Math Student or Best Lead Actress in high school, that I indeed earned As in a bunch of classes in eleventh grade. What I didn't see at the time I was hoarding all this rubbish was that one day, in several years, I would have forgotten about all this stuff. I would remember the plays and the books and the performances, don't get me wrong. But all the little insignificant things that seemed so huge during those years fell away, and it didn't occur to me at age 13 (for whatever/ obvious reasons) that this would happen.

However, I'm glad I saved all those things. Finding all those little insignificant bits showed me that I have grown up at least a little, that I have learned at least a few things in my life. What's more important, it showed me that I have the potential for growth and for learning. I'd like to think that I haven't stopped yet. And hopefully in ten years when I stumble upon all the tosh I've saved up again, it will be electronic and I can just push "Delete" instead of having to carry it all down to the recycling bin.

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