The thing about things is, they are just things. They’re never going to bring you back to relive a moment in the same way. The first time is the only time you can experience a memory the right way. You can relive it in your mind, sure, that’s healthy and hopefully you were present enough in the moment to realize that it was one of those moments to really hold on to. Hopefully you weren’t buried in your phone or thinking about what’s for dinner.
I’m always present, maybe it’s a problem sometimes because I miss moments while they’re actually going on, I get emotional in wishing I could make moments last forever. There are a handfuls of blessed moments I will never let go of in my mind and my heart. There are more terrible ones, for sure. One of the good ones was the last song at my wedding when everyone that I loved that I had been collecting my whole life gathered around in a circle and we danced and high fived our way into a new chapter. Their acceptance, their love, their smiles, the laughter, the music and sounds can never be duplicated, purchased or bottled. Keeping my wedding dress in my closet to never be worn again isn’t going to bring me back to that moment better than my vivid memory.
I remember coming home with my first baby, laying in bed, looking at the miracle of life we had created, it was quiet, there wasn’t a plan for the day or anything to do that was more important than just being present. I can still smell her skin and remember the feeling of love like I had never felt before in my whole life. The feeling of peace, purpose, success and health. That complete feeling doesn’t get diminished or changed because I didn’t save the outfit my baby was wearing.
My kids draw pictures and write me notes everyday. I adore them. I often keep my favorites around for quite a while and I take pictures of them to refer back to for the rest of my life. Do I hesitate throwing them away later? No. Not ever. I touched them, I acknowledged them, I loved them and they mattered to me, they still do and that’s why I took a picture. What I think is so much sadder than throwing something like that away is cataloging it in millions of Rubbermaid boxes in the basement to be either looked through in a sorrowful heartbreak moment of times gone by, or worse .. to overwhelm your space and your life and to never be gone through again until you need the space and have to make the heartbreaking choice to get rid of them for good. This time, however, you’re asking your kids, your relatives, your storage company if they give a shit to take them off your hands and love them the way you do. They won’t. Those memories mean so much less to everyone else because they’re yours.
Yeah, it’s more than possible that I’ve watched too many (all in fact) of my loved ones hold on to things and homes as if that’s who they are and that’s all they have. I have watched them spend endless hours going through boxes of memories, sad to think about making space for more, devastated that they can’t take it all to their grave. These people are overwhelmed with feelings. They’re overwhelmed with clutter. They’re overwhelmed with in your face good, bad and missed memories. Those feelings weigh them down like a ton of bricks and it becomes too late to handle it in an afternoon, a year or even several years.
I get it. I’ve been there. You can’t be raised by people like that and not have caught the bug yourself, at some point. Cleaning my room as a teenager was daunting, difficult and just made me want to eat a bunch of ice cream and quit for the day. After all, I didn’t only inherit the collector vice, but I was also blessed with the power to eat all of my feelings. Lucky me. As long as I could sit around a room full of unopened, rare action figures of my favorite horror movies, mint condition Care Bears, old notes from friends and lovers, empty bottles I thought were cool, 400 movies, 1000 books, a closet full of shoes, 80% of which I’d never wear again .. man, it almost felt like I wasn’t alone. I was SOO alone though and when it came to throwing a thing away, changing something or letting go of emotions that were attached to all of those things, I’d never felt more emotional and more alone. Maybe, if I just ate a bunch of garbage that didn’t make me feel better, I could hide behind the idea that I deserved to be alone or that I didn’t feel like or want to be seen or heard. After all, I subconsciously, yet very purposely and literally made myself too sick to do anything but sit around in the overwhelming environment and emotions that made me make myself sick in the first place.
For actual hundreds of years I’ve been witness or privy to my family being held prisoner with the impossible and isolating burden of keeping a business afloat on their own, keeping an old house warm, together and cared for, keeping land in the family. This has actually killed them. Like walk out to fetch some wood for the fire and never come back, killed them!
Loving a property, a business, stuff, a town, land … it isn’t love. It’s possession and you aren’t the one who is in possession. The things are in possession of you and they will weigh you down enough to kill you.
It is my choice to live my life feeling light, living in the light, not being burdened by things and stuff that can only weigh me down.
That’s the thing.