It is getting harder and harder for me to be an existentialist these days. My wife and I are trying to pack up and move halfway across the country, and I am trying desperately to let go of things I don’t need and will probably never need. There’s the rub: ‘things I will probably never need’.
Since I have an issue with memory, I feel I must keep things that prove or at least validate past occurrences. I am afraid that: 1) I might remember something inaccurately (although Mom says it really doesn’t matter); 2) I might forget something; 3) I might remember something accurately, but no one will believe me. So the things I would probably never need, I probably would need. There’s the rub, indeed.
## (or, rehashing a tired subject)
Those of you who are regular readers probably have had enough of my perseveration about ‘uncluttering’, ‘letting go’, ‘more thoughts on letting go’, blah, blah, blah, etc. but I have taken the advice of some of you and have been diligently working on this issue.
At first I thought my problems were some kind of reaction to having an autistic brother. But Kristin, who read my post, and also has an autistic sibling, has the opposite tendency. She tends to be neat and uncluttered. She said that getting rid of stuff results in a liberating feeling. I have experienced some of that, as I stick my toe in the water of unencumberedness. To tell the truth, it was exhausting picking what goes and what stays. But I got a slight twinge of liberation. Maybe I will get a better sense of it as I get rid of more stuff.
Sheri gave me her strategy, which was to toss anything that has not been used in a year. The only problem with that is, my wife and I are in a combined household, so most of our stuff hasn’t been seen since we moved here – significantly more than a year ago.
When I used to take my film to get developed, the photo store gave ‘double prints’ – two prints of each negative. If I tossed one set of these prints, I could reduce the number of photographs I have by 50%!! I must suppress the thought of wondering who else would like the extra set and just get rid of them.
I could get rid of pictures of people whom I do not like that much. That would enable me to fill quite a few trash bags. I could keep a selected few of each set of prints. After all, Sturgeon’s Law says 90% of everything is crap. Here, I might take Anne’s advice and just keep the good 10%, so everyone thinks I’m a better photographer.
My good friend, Mac shared his strategy of creating yearly summaries for his daily journals. I don’t know if that would address all my issues, but it is worth a try in the future.
A good existentialist does not believe that the universe is telling him something. But I’ve unearthed one item that is making me think twice. At first, I thought my mind was playing tricks on me. I had been concentrating so much on throwing things away, perhaps I was having some kind of Freudian hallucination. But I took a photograph of it, and the text actually showed up.
This reminds me of a quote from Godfather III, only in reverse: Things! I just keep pulling them back in!
I went through our whole house two years ago, and I was able to get rid of a lot of things because I took pictures of them. I have the memories in my mind and can jog those memories by looking at pictures. Maybe that would help you let go of some of your things?
The things that matter most to me are my books, photos and writings. At one point, I had a lot of other things, but I was able to get rid of them. I actually did what you suggested and took pictures of them. Good idea.