Lost times, lost people

I have a friend. She holds on to stuff. To the past. She saves them and looks after them as if her life depended upon them. She doesn’t let anyone throw them away. Not even when her drawers have no more space in them. No, the past stays with her. I ask her, why? And she says, well she doesn’t say but I assume, that it’s because she feels if she throws the stuff away, they’ll take the memories with them. As if throwing them away will somehow lessen their importance. And even if there is no significance to the memory, if the object tends to make her even a little bit nostalgic, she’s keeping it. So you can imagine, all sorts of scraps of paper, and beads, and diaries, and threads, and buttons, and letters, and small things are stuffed in that drawer. Paper chats from school days, and college days, letters from friends, acquaintances and relatives, useless drawings and doodles by self or friends… Diaries full of offending comments by people, lovely text messages, amazing narrations of amazing events, memorable conversations with random or dear people… You name it, it’s there.

I find her habit rather silly. Because I believe we should let go. We can only start living today if we let go of yesterday. It is true that our yesterdays make our todays, but that does not mean that we start giving them so much significance that they slowly and eventually seep into our todays in ways that may affect our tomorrows.

I used to be like that too. Saving pieces of paper, tissue, and filling up diaries of events that may or may not matter and then save them, keep them dear to life. But I realized then, Β that those things are only cluttering my mind and cupboards. That I need to clear space to let new experiences take their place. That I need to let go of people and make space for those who might actually matter. So I cleared up the boxes, emptied the cupboards, and threw away the useless scraps of paper. I am currently in the process of clearing my mind too. Erasing negative emotions is proving to be very hard. And letting go of people? Lets just say… It’s too easy to let go of some, and way too hard to let go of some others. And it isn’t possible to just tell yourself to hate one and love another. Not if the heart isn’t willing to. But that wasn’t really the point of this post.

The point is, it’s good to de-clutter.

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22 thoughts on “Lost times, lost people

  1. Maybe you could gently try to discover what in the future is scaring your friend so much that she has to hang on so desperately to the past.

    One advantage of my travelling years was that I regularly had to clear out all my junk and either give or throw nearly everything away.

    I always throw photos away ASAP. I hate ’em. I reckon I know why photographs ‘steal your soul’. They keep you locked in the past.

    Books were hard to get rid of and records (LPs) even harder, but the ‘personal’ stuff was always pretty easy – though friends and relatives have been appalled to discover that I have tossed out old diaries, notebooks full of stories and song lyrics, letters, etc.

    But what really screwed me up for years was my inability to let go of people. Even when they were dead. That’s because I was scared of my own death.

    • I agree with what you said about photos..
      I don’t think she’s scared of anything, she just holds memories dear to her. Just doesn’t want to let go. She’s a poet, that might be one explanation πŸ˜‰

  2. you know I use to save things like that too…..Because in my depressed moments I can open my diaries and look and read the things go in that moment and smile ! Remember my old friends who are not even with me now ….. I am not sure she lives in the past and she don’t want to let it go and move on…May be she has already moved on and she is just keeping these things as memories. I sometimes regret I haven’t took a photograph of my happiest moments…..Because these things are the best way to make these moments live forever ! Very nicely written πŸ™‚ xx

    • Can you ever really make the past live in the present (much less ‘forever’)?

      Or can you only try to hang onto the shadows of your prior ‘happiest moments’ and miss the one you might be having now?

      • It is a very simple thing I was trying to say. I just said I like to recall my happy memories and my past friends sometimes and it gives me pleasure. My past is separate from my present. I take some moments from my present to recall my past and then close the book. That’s it ! πŸ™‚

    • Aren’t the happiest moments those of growth and change, not of static nostalgia?

      I was a first child and got photographed constantly.
      My feelings when my mother brought the photographs out and gushed over them was always that she was trying to hang onto ‘baby Michael’ and not let me grow. Or worse, that she preferred the me of years past to the one I am now.

      Photos can be interesting for the information and insights they offer and they can be useful memory aids, but using them to try to emotionally reconnect with the past has always struck me as unhealthy.

      You can never step into the same stream twice.

      • I agree to your thoughts Cabrogal I agree…..But the thing is how you perceive things…..I take these pictures and things as memories and I like to sometimes recall them through things. If someone can not get out of the past, It is not good. I was just sharing how I use to deal with them πŸ™‚

  3. Why did you save tissues? :p
    I too save memories in manual form but to the extent of diaries and cards and letters and autographs only, and yes there was a time when my sister wrote a very lovely note to me on a Tissue Paper and I still have it :pp

    • Well there was once a time when I went to pizza one with Mars, and we wanted a souvenir. All we had was the tissues and receipts that they’d given us. So we kept a tissue and receipt each, and wrote the date day time and our signatures on it πŸ˜‰
      And there are a few tissues on which I’d made designs that I saved πŸ˜‰

  4. I too have stuff from when I was 6 year old to high school notes and chocolate wrappers with lil notes on ’em, giving to me by my friends on different occasions. Often I argue with my mom when she orders me to chuck my kachra out, but that’s not kachra, for heaven’s sake. There’s more to those things. Those things help me in re-living my past, make me smile. I save them coz I want to remember how I was back in school, when I get old. I Imagine myself sitting in a library or study kinda room, on a rocking chair, with small trunk like box on my lap, feeling each and everything, wiping the dust off, reading, smiling and crying. And reminding my friends of those days.(YEs we plan to be friends forever insha’Allah πŸ™‚ )
    I don’t think I’ll ever be able to throw that stuff away. And no those things don’t hold me back or make me sad. It makes me smile and I plan to make more memories and save some more wrappers and notes. πŸ™‚
    Nice blog btw, found it through Maria’s blog πŸ™‚

    • Well that’s good, if they don’t make you sad, and don’t hold you back either… I still think it’s better to throw it away… Too much luggage.
      Thankyou for visiting πŸ™‚

  5. The drawers of memories can nevvvver be filled – ever. There would always be space for them. The more it’s filled, the more you realize how much more it can have.
    Nothing is wrong to have them. What’s wrong is to have them, keep them, constantly looking back at them, and not moving on. What happened in the past is past. You can’t forget it, but at the same time you can’t carry it with you all the time either. Look at it, learn from it, and move on.

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