Monday, 19 October 2009

Shoebox memory cull

I threw away my Bon Jovi poster. The first love of my life is now lying with his pretty face in old news print. 

It was faded, frayed, spotty, stained, and ... old. It had been an indulgent gift from caring friends that I treasured almost as much as JBJ CDs. The poster was about shared fantasies, dreams, conversations, and stories with friends. But it was dusty and so were the memories.

It all started exactly a month ago when I packed all my life's possessions and moved continents. Besides the 46kg + 8kg hand luggage (+ laptop bag), I was dragging with me enough memories and, some would say, emotional baggage.

So when I first began emptying my room, every little ticket stub and visitors' information booklet was carefully packed away. But during the period of wanderlust that followed, and before I landed up at the next place I would call home, the memory cull had been ruthless. "I can't lift so much stuff," might only have been an excuse to shed carefully collected tokens of memories and shared experiences, left behind as I continued onwards on my travels.

A first restaurant bill was just a piece of paper and my security-blanket t-shirt really didn't have another wear in it. Bin 'em.

Finally back home, the things that once defined My space didn't seem that important any more. For one, Jon was already off my wall, rolled and left in some cupboard.

Out went Jon, old textbooks, old stuffed toys (the cow that went moo was put in a plastic bag and stuffed in a cupboard nobody can reach, at least till the next cull), papers, bags, clocks.

As did old birthday gifts, friendship tokens, thank-you/ happy-new-year cards...saved text messages from three years ago.....

I'd like to think that I can get rid of some of this stuff because my relationships have moved beyond names signed on restaurant tissue (yea, we did that) and an awful drawing that sprouted one particularly boring class. These people are still in my life, I'm making new memories with them all the time, and I hope I can show them I care in ways that don't include hanging onto a present from seven years ago.

But I can't escape that some of these things are just dust-gathering-junk, the stories behind them aren't that special any more, and the people or the experiences are from a past that was wonderful, but now well past.

I still love JBJ, I'm pretty sure I always will.

But there's only so much that a shoebox can hold, and we need space for the new.

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