On worthless memories….

Do you ever wonder why you keep some of the things you keep? I’ve been wondering that a lot lately. I have a ton of stuff stored in my parents’ basement right now and they keep hounding me to get it out so my dad can install a dance floor, but mostly it’s because I’ve had boxes of crap in their basement for more than 10 years and it’s time to get rid of some (okay, most) of it.
Some of the things I found just made me wonder: why on God’s green earth would I keep that crap? Notes from boys that made me feel bad about myself; cards from my 15th birthday; corsages from homecomings and proms; candles and incense (of which I found an extraordinary amount). We’re talking seriously meaningless crap. Of course, I did find some fun things as well. Photos from my senior year that I’d all but forgotten about; my graduation cap that I had airbrushed before grad; a mix tape (okay, just the case. I wonder where the tape went?); all kinds of miscellaneous awards from high school; adorable notes from my gal pals in Canada and Minnesota; journals and notebooks; my list of Simple Pleasures.
But the question remains: why would I keep things that don’t matter and/or that make me feel bad about myself? I read some of those notes and every feeling of insecurity and worthlessness just came screaming back. It was like being a teenager all over again (a fate I would wish on no person). On top of that, why would I ever keep old textbooks (especially those regarding any sort of math)? But maybe instead of questioning my past decisions, I should trash the trash and instead begin asking myself the following question:
Am I going to care about or want this is 5, 10, 15 years?
If the answer is “No,” then it makes it pretty easy (or it should, anyway) to forget about it. However, there will be those things that I keep that WILL mean a lot to me, but will also cause me great pain when I find it 10 years in the future. Are those things worth keeping around? I keep all my journals and from time to time, I’ll go back and read through them. There’s some painful stuff in there, especially the ones from my late-teens and early-20s. Reading what I wrote ten years ago, I sometimes feel very guilty about things I did. I feel silly for mistakes I made. I feel shallow and disappointing. I feel reckless. I feel not worth it.
But it’s in those feelings of worthlessness and despair that I remember how far I’ve come. Maybe that’s why I keep some of those things. To remind myself that I’m not that person anymore, that I’ve changed…for the better, in many ways.

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