… never gonna let you down / never gonna run around and desert you….
(Rickrolling oneself, on purpose, how pathetic is that?)
As I strive for a new way of living, there’s the unavoidable confrontation with myself in order to find out which personality parts might be a hindrance and which might be helpful. Of course, most characteristics tend to push towards the depressed side, else chances are I’d not have ended up there in the first place.
From a very young age, I have been a collector and chronicler, unable to let go of items that hold a personal significance to me. Everything is deemed either potentially useful in the future or emotionally important, and so I ended up with a flat full of bric-à-brac that I would like to drastically reduce but can’t let go of.
There are a little box containing two wisdom teeth I got surgically removed when I was thirteen; pieces of rope tied into boating knots from a sailing trip in 1996; seashells, stones and feathers I collected at the beach; a dusty box containing a pretty but materially worthless tea set that was a birthday present from my grandparents (I don’t drink tea); a computer keyboard I never used; a tray with slides of reversal film from a lecture I held in my second university year (the very end of the era when students were not expected to have a laptop for PowerPoint presentations yet); a collection of index cards from my Greek classes in school with vocabulary on it (we used to make up our own vocabulary and mix it with the legitimate cards – no matter how many our teacher found and destroyed, we simply outnumbered her in re-production)…
I could continue the list for a long time and most of it has nothing but sentimental worth. I look at the items and they make me smile, bring back memories; but at the same time, the masses of accumulated knickknacks weigh me down and clutter up my life both literally and metaphorically.
I know the tricks and advices: “put everything in a box and if you didn’t miss it after 6 months, throw it away without looking into the box again” – never worked for me because I can’t even bring myself to put a lot of that stuff into one of those boxes.
“Imagine you only have two years to live. What would you like to have around you during that time?” Doesn’t work for me either as it only reinforces the sentimentality.
It wouldn’t be such a problem if I didn’t wish I could throw a lot of the old baggage away and have a clean start. Room for something new, inside and outside.
Sometimes I wonder if my tendency for hording, collecting and cataloguing has created or at least contributed to my wish of becoming an archaeologist. The fear of loss is so deeply rooted inside me that even I would blame a personal trauma in infancy if there was any such event I could pinpoint it to. But I have always, all my life, tried to collect and preserve, in the most chaotic way possible, and I was always afraid of losing something or someone very precious to me.
Emptying my grandmother’s flat only makes it worse: how little remains after a long life…