Going through all of my stuff is like returning to the scene of an accident, long after the debris has been removed and wounds have healed. No matter the length of time, no matter the season, the place itself invokes suppressed memories of experiences you have learned from, and consequently, moved beyond.
On a side note, that's one reason I hate going to Provo. While good things happened there, going back also brings the memories of the hell I experienced.
No one wants to revisit hell, if they can help it.
Perhaps the metaphor of returning to the scene of an accident is a bit extreme, but for now, it's the clearest way I can find to describe the feelings I experienced yesterday cleaning out MORE of my keepsake crap! I swear, sometimes I feel like I have kept every piece of my paper from my entire life. Part of that is my parents' fault--- damn the novelty of being the first born child. Really though, I get the whole saving everything from my dad. It's taken him years to get through all his stuff (it won't take me that long, I promise).
I have chucked 2 HUGE garbage bags full of stuff away in the past couple days. I am trying to get all my keepsake stuff down to 2 boxes, but I haven't touched the garage yet. I feel this sense of urgency to get it all done because I have no idea when I am coming home again and, it will most likely not be for any lengthy amount of time. Guess I should have started de-junking at the beginning of Christmas break, not the end.
Back to the whole returning to the scene of an accident feeling. Safety patrol pins, choir awards, rubrics with all areas filled in above standard, softball trophies, academic plaques. It's amazing how a life can fit in a box, that awards I busted my ass for are forgotten in a clear, plastic storage box.
I didn't have the luxury of moving out to go to college and having a bedroom to come back to. I don't currently have a room in my parents' house, and never will. My parents moved after my first semester of college. My keepsake stuff tells the story of my childhood: K-12, my former life. Read a fourth grade essay---all about the day I would graduate from high school with gold ropes (for academic honors). I don't know how I even knew what those were at the age of 9-10; neither does my mom. I used to have, what I thought was, a clear picture of who I wanted to be. However, the paradox of life is that we can't see things about our own experiences until we have actually experienced them.
Time provides room for wisdom.
I was so busy trying to become that "person", I didn't know I was that person at the time. It took years for me to give myself any credit. I didn't do things for the wrong reasons, but I put value on things that in reality, don't matter as much as I thought they did. Soon I will graduate from college. Sure I have a good GPA and will most likely graduate magna cum laud or at least cum laud, but I will just be another graduate on that day. I won't be the commencement speaker or receive any high recognition. I won't be anyone special except to the people who know and love me. What I will graduate with will be so much more that what 1 single piece of paper will declare. I only get one significant piece of paper from college---my diploma---and just like all my mountains of papers tell the story of my youth, that one piece of paper will tell the beginning of the story of my adulthood.
One piece of paper can have as much meaning as thousand. In reality, the paper doesn't matter. It's the experience the paper can represent that's of real worth.