Daughter Tara spoke those words last week when she was in Raleigh. These few days later, I do not even remember the context, but her words ring so clearly in my mind.
I know that I have too much stuff, and I have been trying to reduce it this last year. And I have made some progress. But there is so much more to do.
Tara, who is soon to be 42 years old, and who has been living in other places since college, still had a closet full of many of her things in our house, things I could not bring myself to get rid of. There were school trophies, notebooks, cheerleading outfits, pom poms, letter jackets, letters, photos, and sorority memorabilia. I asked her to go through it all, and decide what to keep and what to eliminate. She did so, in about one hour, and threw away most of it. She told me to not even look at what she was discarding, knowing that I might find a reason to keep some of it. I had a hard time with that, but I honored her directive. After all, it wasn’t even my stuff, so if she did not want to keep it, why should I?
I remember many of the times those memories she discarded represented. Her grade school friends; Cameron, Katherine, Adria, Katrina, and Anna. Those were precious friends, and the photos of their times together recorded their good times. I do not know if the photos are necessary to remember their special times, but I do know that I went down memory lane when I saw those photos.
The same was true with high school friends; Damien, Katy, Michael, Jenkins, Christophe. These were friends who made this time in their lives rich with memories, memories of growing up and going forth; going forth into adulthood, all the better for having had these relationships.
There was lots of other stuff in Tara’s closet, stuff that she could discard without flinching. I am so glad that she could, for I couldn’t.
Just because we have space does not mean that we have room for more stuff.
Perhaps our space should be reserved for current priorities, not past. Perhaps we should be ok with discarding the tangible evidence of the past, even if we want to hold tight to the memories of the people who were a part of our lives during those times.
I am still a novice at getting rid of stuff.
But I am an expert at holding onto people and memories.