Whether you’re a natural hoarder or not we all tend to keep our own little collection of memories somewhere safe; a shoebox maybe, a special box that carries memories of its own, or in between the leaves of books. These little oddments will either act as a reminder of the good times of laughs, drunken giggles, and the odd morning-after spent splayed on the sofa under a duvet and a Sunday’s-best film on, or of the bad- times once (but no longer) very close to your heart, relationships long since burnt out or friendships no longer intact. We hold onto the latter of the two as tight as possible no matter how much it hurts just in case – one day – that friendship is rekindled.
We’ve all been there, watching the stacks of boxes and bags grow with each passing day, or having a fight with those items that just don’t want to sit inside the wardrobe (why won’t they just stay there?!) but at some point in our lives, preferably when we have a little time to mooch rather than just sort and throw, we need to tackle these boxes. Yes, there’ll be memories in there. Some will hurt – from the people no longer with us, to friendships burnt out long ago, and letters, ticket stubs, and memory books given to you lovingly by your other half at the time – but some will be good. Photographs you thought you’d long lost, various items of clothing from your university days (I’m thinking a very short red skirt and a yellow vest top with ‘lifeguard’ printed on it) or clubs that you were once a part of (trampolining club anyone?), flight tickets to various adventures, cruise cards, museum entry tickets, all bring back wonderful memories.
I think there comes a time in every one of our lives where we just need to let go of the past and move on. From the photographs and memories that you shared with your ex, grasping onto them for months won’t mean you’ll get back together, nor will they have any impact on their life. Holding onto these memories hinder the healing process, they literally stop you moving forward because your head is filled with the many “what if”s and “what if things were different?” – It’s the cold, hard, truth, and although you may not want to hear “get over it” once more (face it, you know you’ve been telling yourself that for months), sometimes it’s exactly what you need to do.
Since coming to the realisation that I’m not going to be in this house forever, I’ve started taking a very stringent approach to tackling my hoarding. I came across old cinema tickets, Valentine’s Day cards, old notes, and an endless supply of broken promises of which I had great satisfaction in placing them in their own special place – the bin. I’m a firm believer that we should “live with no excuses and love with no regrets” but I also believe that some things just need to end and their chapter closed and so forth – that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen however. I’ve heard girls say how they can’t believe their boyfriend loved someone before them, but it happens. That’s life. This is life. You can’t change the past nor should you pretend it didn’t happen. We’re all shaped by our experiences after all… I don’t need to look over the bucket list I once made with a boyfriend, or the memories from days out stuck in a book. Nor do I need the birthday or Christmas cards from people no longer in my life… The [good] memories will always have that special place in my heart; I don’t need to remind myself of any of the bad ones.
In the end these things matter most:
How well did you love?
How fully did you love?
How deeply did you learn to let go?
Looking back at my life and these past few months of 2013 I have learnt a lot; a lot about myself, my relationships with people, and my presence in this world. I simply hold onto too many things, too many memories. Letters have been scribbled to people once close to me, possessions have been returned, and normality has progressively been returned. With my hand on my heart I know that I’m ready to move forward instead of looking back. I know I gave my all; I gave as much love as I could and yes, I made some mistakes but without mistakes we cannot learn, and if we cannot learn how can we progress…? Life is for living! Life is for throwing off the bowlines and sailing away from the harbour (thank you Mark Twain) and that’s exactly what I plan to do.