I thought that going through boxes of paper would upset me but so far it hasn’t. I’ve been examining old pictures of my son in childhood and thinking about everything that I’ve experienced.
I’ve only done two small boxes. Several very large Rubbermaid containers of pictures and a long file box await. I expect that by the end of these, my nails will be broken and bitten. My hair will be frizzy and falling from its pins. I’ll grumble, gripe, and scold myself for being such a packrat. Then I’ll chide myself for complaining.
But for now, I’m making piles of smiling versions of our younger selves. I’ve looked with fondness on photographs of people who have drifted from my life, some crossing bridges which they lit ablaze behind them. A little pile of scan-these sits to one side. A paper bag stands on the chair, 1/4 full of discards. Letters from a French foreign exchange student and my friend Diana in Utah could go in either stack; I’ve not decided yet.
I’ve been both blessed and cursed in many ways. Fortune shone on me occasionally. At times I drew my shades against its beam. Other times the storm battered my windows. I cowered in the corner, praying for the rain to pass. All of that found its way onto the shelves of my basement. I’ve never been one to persistently keep a journal other than my blog-writing. I start and stop; I get a few days into a new effort and forget. But I do keep letters and snapshots. Every anguish, every joy, every triumph, every terror, gathers dust downstairs.
I’m going through it all. I realized halfway into my first day that this is like therapy for me. I’ll either emerge from the other side strong and triumphant, or sink into the morass of memory.
I’ve undertaken this task with an open heart. It’s arduous, physically and emotionally, but I’m not complaining. It’s my life. Every second of it, every frozen pose, every tattered birthday card. Whatever damage these events could do has already woven itself into the fibers of my being. I’m looking for something else now. I’m looking for the good.
It’s the tenth day of the forty-third month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.
I often go through my old things, they remind me how far I’ve come and it makes me proud of the person I am today. You should absolutely feel the same way. I love you!!❤️