Ever since we moved back to our family home earlier this year, there has been a line of boxes waiting to be emptied. One room after another, items have been put away, given away, or tossed away. The artwork is finally going up on the walls. The heavier drapes are being hung in time for the cool nights of autumn. Life’s activities continue one day after the other amidst a stack of this or pile of that. Still, some boxes remain, with contents patiently awaiting a return to usefulness or the trash bin.
Occasionally I declare that it would only take a few days to “catch up” with all of it and things would be back to normal…that I would no longer need to look at these cardboard containers stacked around my office. When I tried that approach – taking a couple of days to unpack files into drawers, books unto shelves, and knick-knacks into corners – the other part of my life fell into panic…the deadlines and projects that I needed to pay attention to came due with amazing speed and stress. I traded one irritation for another.
The truth is, this IS normal…for as long as I can remember. There have always been boxes sitting around in some corner, filled with memories…numerous photograph albums, school papers, childhood gifts, and tidbits from relationships. Throwing these things away seems sacrilegious – all are parts of me. But every once in awhile, when we move or I need to get to something in the far back corner under the bottom of the pile, I’ll look through a box and determine that at least SOME item is no longer necessary to whom I’ve become. I’ll toss it into the wastebasket or ask one of my adult children if they want it. They never do. Why would they?
Frankly, I’ve come to accept that there is no “catch up” either. Time is time. We can’t save it up to use it later. We can only spend it as we live each day…fixing meals, working, hanging pictures, creating art or crafts, playing with grandchildren, working, visiting with friends, sleeping, driving, cleaning, recreation, working, studying, reading, writing, working, etc. (If you’ve followed this blog, you already know that, for me, working is a priority.) But sometimes I can empty a box or two.
I think the reason I resist the boxes is because of their contents. I want to explore each container indepth…look at each piece of paper to determine its value…fondly remember the goings on in my life at the time the item was gifted to me and by whom…make sure I throw nothing away that I’ll regret later for having done so. No one can really assist me in this process. It’s a solitary endeavor. I’m the only one who can decide what stays and what goes…or how important that piece of paper is to my current existence. For example, reviewing the several small boxes of greeting cards received for all those special occasions during the past few decades from my loved ones. My husband has his own collection, too. We finally agreed that maybe it would be okay to reduce our “collections” and keep only a few of the most precious of these cards…when we have the time to look at them.
I know, eventually, all this will get sorted out. I’d just like to do it while I’m the one still making the decisions and so my children don’t get stuck with it. However, it’s not ALL going to happen today. And for now, I’m okay with that.