Now, standing on a proverbial mountain, overlooking 26 years of life, with Uni and my childhood behind me, I can say it has been a pretty magical experience. About to depart for South East Asia, and then possibly a years work in Australia, it feels like a reflective point in time.
I’ve been reducing my possessions steadily in the build up to this trip. Everything that comes with me in my 35L bag is essential, the rest is optional. I don’t want to leave a load of stuff in storage – there seems no point. The hardest part isn’t the clothes or the gadgets, but the sentimental pieces. Work I did as a kid, diaries with notes from friends long left behind, letters from ex girlfriends. All stuff that in some way it might be nice to hold on to, but in reality are likely to hold me back from embracing the future. The less stuff I have, the more easily I can move on from place to place. Thats my theory now – further down the line I may wish I had more items from the past, but I’m working to keep it minimal. For the most precious items I’ve archived them with digital pictures so as not to completely lose the memories.
Something I’ve noticed is that out of sight you forget about sentimental possessions, around them you overvalue them, throwing them out is hard, but after a while it’s a non issue because you go back to forgetting about them.
It’s made me realise (read ‘hammered home’) that ‘these days’ the best things are created digitally. They don’t burden you physically, can be shared globally, and can be preserved indefinitely. Note to self, publish digitally more often!!
Roger Angell, 93, editor of the New Yorker wrote a piece titled ‘This Old Man‘ where he says:
“[…list of names]
These names are best kept in mind rather than boxed and put away somewhere. Old letters are engrossing but feel historic in numbers, photo albums delightful but with a glum after-kick like a chocolate caramel. Home movies are killers: Zeke, a long-gone Lab, alive again, rushing from right to left with a tennis ball in his mouth; my sister Nancy, stunning at seventeen, smoking a lipstick-stained cigarette aboard Astrid, with the breeze stirring her tied-up brown hair; my mother laughing and ducking out of the picture again, waving her hands in front of her face in embarrassment—she’s about thirty-five. Me sitting cross-legged under a Ping-Pong table, at eleven. Take us away.”
It made me smile 🙂
One of the things going through old possessions has made me realise, is that A LOT of stuff has gone on! I was throwing away old trophies and I realised how hard I’d worked as a little kid to excel at soccer for my team. Similarly with athletics I’d worked hard and done well. You forget these things were even ‘a thing’!
I’ve decided to create a timeline of my ‘life events’ to try and capture the essence of what’s gone on over the years! Facebook only covers me since 2006 :p
It’s good to be able to have it, assuming you don’t dwell!
Going back to my imminent departure. I’m reminded of the feeling when I would depart from Uni, having had a nice break at home. I would leave with some pain in my heart, knowing that the next time I would see my parents, they’d be older and potentially more frail. It’s kind of like a time warp, while I’m there time stands still, while I’m away, time flows quicker.
It is however important to be able to acknowledge the emotions, and leave anyway.
The start of a new adventure is always tainted with anticipation and nervousness. Once it begins, those emotions give way to excitement.