Sunday, January 6, 2013

To Let Go or Not Let Go, that is the question

I just started reading a great blog, (Joshua & Ryan), whom I found from a blog, "Be More With Less" and came across a post, by Joshua with a line or two of which I strongly disagree. (I bolded in red the lines I take issue with... most everything else I fully agree with.)

Joshua writes:

A few words about sentimental items

"We all have sentimental items like pictures of loved ones, that plate your mom gave you for a special occasion, those little knickknacks that grandma gave us as kids, etc.
This might come as a shock to you, but throw them away.
Think about it. They don’t really have any value or meaning other than the meaning you give those items.
Hold on to your pictures for now, we’ll ask you to scan them and then throw them away in a few days.
But everything else can go. The past does not equal the future. The sentimental items are a reminder of the past and you don’t want to live there.
You want to live in the now.
You want to 'be on the mountain.'
This might sound shocking to you, and you might be terribly afraid to throw out that box of trinkets that you never use, because they have sentimental value. But you are starting a new life, and you don’t need constant reminders of the past to have your new life. It’s counter-intuitive."

I don't think this is true for everyone in regards to the physical photos and albums. I find HUGE pleasure in reminding myself (through photographs and journals) events that I don't remember, places I've been that have become lost in a gray area of memory... but I took photos and wrote down key events or situations or people that made that time 'memorable.' 
Sidethought: Yes, you can look at them digitally, but there is a tactile pleasure in the creation of the memory page, and sitting down later (a few days, a few weeks, a few years, two decades....) to remember the good stuff. If the comet comes close enough to de-magnetize our world, most electronics will quit functioning. I can sit down with a flashlight or a candle or in the sun and look at a trees-were-killed-for-this album in the midst of my world falling apart and remember happy times and loved ones. 'Cuz I'm doomsday like that. 

As I write that, I have conflict - "If something is (truly) memorable, why do I need to write it down or memorialize it via a memory album/scrapbook... won't I just remember it?"

Well, because ~ for most of us mere mortals, the answer is, "No, I won't just remember it." Most of us are not Dr. Spencer Reid from "Criminal Minds", and don't remember lots of details of things we had a great time doing. Especially if you struggle with negative thinking (i.e. if you're on the bi-polar spectrum or if you're depressed). Some might even call the process of recalling positive memories as therapy. I'm just sayin'.

Case in point:
The best job I ever had was singing, dancing and doing improvisational acting with a small touring company called Bravvo Productions! There were four of us in a van, with a trailer, and we sang and danced and improv'd from Key Largo to Boston and everywhere in between. I got to see the East Coast of America with the history and the landmarks and places I'd always wanted to go (and go back to!) I have 3 three-ring binders that are 'scrapbooked'* - pictures and stories, along with promotional items the Country Clubs published about our performances (including the prestigious Pinehurst Resort & Country Club in Pinehurst, North Carolina). *They're not "safe" as far as 'scrapbooking' is concerned on acid-free paper blah blah blah, which is one reason I wanted to see what condition they're in and how I can rescue it without spending too much time....'

This was in 1993. January thru April of '93, to be precise.

Please pause for a moment while I wonder where 20 years has gone...
a bit of a shock as I realize that was exactly. like seriously. 20 years ago.

I briefly looked through one of the binders this morning (I took the binders out of the storage bin I had them in to see what I want to do with them....), and there are pictures of people I knew well because we were traveling in a van together, friends I saw while on the trip (and am still in contact with 20 years later!), experiences I treasured, and anecdotal stories from each performance.

Not only does this time remind me that "Yes, I am a professional" when it comes to singing and performing and entertaining, it also shows me how far I've come, or, how far I've drifted off the path I want, or thought I wanted. It causes me to re-evaluate some of the decisions I've made, and helps me make better decisions today. Hindsight and all that.

I think I'm older than both Joshua and Ryan, and I strongly believe that "... constant reminders of the past" are not a hindrance " have your new life."  For me, reminders of the past show us how far we've come.

I struggle every single day with self-esteem and good-enough issues, and the little duck that quacks constantly about not "being enough..." My (personal) visual reminders are affirmative stones in the balance scale of my emotional equilibrium, and having them to refer to helps keep me positive and inspired, which is what keeps up my perseverance.

Having a past reminds me of long-held dreams that might have been forgotten because of the side-trips life takes, and maybe I want to find the main road again. Having the reminders gives me that choice.

I was remembering the other day how much I adored (we're talking seriously spent hours and hours and hours) drawing my dream house. I had the paper with the little squares, and I had atriums in the middle of the house, walls of aquariums, round, castle-like adornments... and in one of the binder journals of the Bravvo Tour I found a "more recent" drawing (!)  When did I stop drawing them? When I found out that architecture school had too much math to be fun? That it would be too difficult?

So what is the point?

My past doesn't define me and doesn't define my future. But every journey (hopefully by you know I mean "Life" when I say 'journey') has a starting point, and...
  • Knowing where we started helps us realize how far we've come. 
  • Knowing where we started helps us appreciate the detours that we've taken ~ adventures, opportunities, and learning experiences are all valuable to the future growth we are pursuing. 
  • Knowing where we started helps us see that we might be lost, or if we are on the roundabout and keep seeing the same things over and over. and over. That we've lost our way and it is time to regroup and refocus.
  • Knowing where we started is a reminder of either where we want to be again, or where we never want to be again (as in losing 100 lbs - before, during, and after pictures are priceless!).
Specifically, as I've written this post, I've realized (again) that I don't do things that are difficult or hard.

I must change that.

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