Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Boxing Up Your Life

Packing up a home tells you what you hold important and what is purely excess. My wonderful realtor did a once through of my home, nonchalantly naming off this, that and the other thing that needed to disappear until I sold my humble abode. They held no meaning to him and I soon discovered there was a lot that meant nothing to me either.

My first step in the process of selling was to de-clutter the six years worth of "stuff" I'd accumulated for no better reason than "I wanted it". These objects were the easiest to box up. I didn't even think twice about packing them away and possibly keeping them hidden forever. As I packed up the items to depersonalize my place, I found myself reveling in the past and becoming reacquainted with precious things I had put away carefully. These particular items had a life of their own. Not shiny or sparkling, not cutting edge or technologically advanced, they held pieces of the past, memories and thoughts in their matter.
Photo albums of every shape and size, brightly coloured or plain black took me from high school to motherhood; from across Canada to Europe and the Pacific Rim; from family moments to family ghosts. These books filled with hundreds of photos held so many memories. I found myself entangled in years gone by, relishing in memories and bringing them back to life. I could taste decadent meals that loved ones spent hours creating; I could smell the perfume of frangipanis and the sea while I was basking in the sun of the Australian beaches I called home for a year; I felt the warm embrace of my grandfather as we wished each other a very merry, happy, good "whatever the occasion” was. The thought of storing these photographs in a dark locker deep within the bowels of my building scared me. These were far too dear to be stored, even temporarily, in a wire cage.

As the de-cluttering moved into my bedroom, I pulled out an old tattered leather file box filled with beautiful folders, delicately designed in pastel motifs that held hand written stories from my childhood and typewritten stories from my teenage years and early 20's (before the time when every home had a computer). These stories still appeared in between writing projects to revise, enjoy and then tuck away again. Stories that represented a younger, more vibrant me when everything seemed possible. The pencil markings on some were fading, the paper crumpled from years of handling. Every time I pulled these out, I felt like I was reading the diary of my younger soul. This old, brown file box lived upstairs and it would just have to stay where it was.

As I continued to plough through this erasing of my personal effects, I was faced with the insurmountable task of packing up my bookcases. One of my previous posts, The Bookcase mentioned how important my books are. These cases house not only recent purchases of books that caught my eye but also my precious collection of rare and antique books. These works by some of the greatest writers in literature were the birthplaces of my love of the written word. Their smell, the delicate pages and beautiful covers are of an era when books were revered and not digitally downloaded to enjoy.
It pained me, knife-through-the-heart type of pain, to think that something horrible would happen to these precious pieces of me if they were out of my sight. It was then that I realized that besides my children, these were the only things that, if lost, damaged or destroyed, would leave a void in my life I could never replace.

Funny how when the time comes to box up your life, the reality of what is important, I mean really important, hits you in the face.

Talk To Me! What are the things that would leave a gaping hole in your life if lost?

6 comments:

  1. Like you, my books and my writings are among my most prized possessions. I really don't own that much material stuff, but I do insist on keeping my books. Thanks for the post.

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  2. Kindred spirits Matthew...what have I been telling you? :)

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