When my parents set off on their greatest sailing adventure* over ten years ago, our belongings entered a storage unit. This summer they opened that repository, and a couple of weeks ago, my childhood was returned to me. It turns out my childhood fits in seven boxes.
Before the shutting up of the house and the setting off from the coast, we did sort things. Tried to anticipate what we would still prize in an unknown number of years to come. I lacked, however, the weapons of foresight (that their adventure would be over a decade long) and distance. It seems that proximity dampens the rational instinct. At the time, it must have seemed entirely reasonable to save not one, but two sets of fairy wings from the great cull. Now I can only laugh, ‘What was I thinking?!’. Decluttering is much easier with distance from the past.
For the most part though, I have been predictable, saving journals, photographs and prized books. And they will remain, along with my grandfather’s chest and a childhood teddy or three. It’s the trappings of life that I’ve mainly chosen to lose at this stage – the decorations, the trinkets that filled a childhood bedroom but don’t belong in a married home.
It has been interesting, this excavation through my childhood. Digging through boxes and wrappings, becoming saturated with nostalgia. There’s been a challenge to figure out how to integrate my previously hibernating life with the one I’m currently building.
I spend a lot of my time thinking about how our current decisions interact with the future. Is this purchase contributing to human-made climate change? Will investing in this new skill help us to live more sustainably in future decades to come? It’s been good to consider how to integrate my past with this future that we’re trying to build. Some things have been superseded by the passing of time. The boxes of CDs, for example, would just be space-fillers in this music-streaming era. It’s the stories, adventures and places that previously inspired and influenced that are taking their rightful place in our present.
And there has been fun too in this exploration – with a cardboard box littered with the handwritten notes of angst-ridden teenagers, how could there not be?!
* to date
Today’s soundtrack: Bleachers // Gone Now
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