Some vacation time has allowed me to sort through 30+ years of memorabilia--photos, concert ticket stubs, cards, and letters. The hard part is that I'm finding a lot of people whom I loved that have passed out of my life. Some of them passed out of my life because that's the way life is. At key junctures, like high school graduation, you take divergent paths and loose touch.
The hardest things to look at are the people I let go from my life because of disappointment or anger...where I purposely severed the relationship. In some cases, it was unavoidable. In other cases, I feel like a fool and there's a sense of loss.
As I look at these people from 5, 10, 20, or even 30 years ago, the bad feelings that caused our friendship or romance to hit the rocks is gone. In the images I see people whom I've loved and who love me. I realize that I may have cut them out of my life, but I cannot cut them out of my heart--ever.
Do I wish all of them back into my life? Not really. Only a couple of them. But, for the first time ever, I'm willing to let their faces inhabit my walls and my daily life rather than being relegated to a box in my closet.
I would never regard myself as a sentimental person, and yet, the first present a boy ever gave me--a framed pane of glass etched with flowers--still hangs in my window 33 years later. Yeah, it's my laundry room window but, still, if I was a bag lady, I'd carry it around in my cart with me.
I think I cherish these things because I never made a family for myself. Somehow, I missed that class in college. So all of this "stuff" is evidence that I've loved and been loved in my life.
My goal this past year has been to work towards getting rid of stuff that I don't use or don't love. This means that a lot of the photos and cards are getting thrown away. Some, I'll scan and then toss. Only the special ones will remain...the people who have changed my life just by passing through it.