the accumulation of a life

The other day I was sorting through a closet. Something I do with semi-frequency. And I thought to myself: How does one accumulate so much stuff? 

When we moved from college to Louisville, we already had a cattle trailer full of items, but that was small potatoes compared to what we packed into the back of our moving truck two years later in route for Missouri. And now? NOW?! If we were to move tomorrow I can guarantee we'd have to pack up in an even bigger moving truck than last time.

And then I thought: Stuff is stuff. But what about this LIFE I have accumulated since I first packed my bags and left home?!

Every day that passes, I tuck more and more life inside these walls.

When we moved to Kentucky-- me, kicking and screaming-- I wrote a reflection [here] about unpacking old memories in my apartment: unloading memories of summer trips to the pool and bike rides with my dad and making "recipe soup" onto the shelves of my one bedroom apartment. I talked about how the new apartment could only store so many memories, and that I needed to leave some behind to return to.

And now, in my three bedroom home, I wonder how many memories I have unloaded into these closets and shelves; how many nearly forgotten happinesses lie in these cupboards, just waiting for me to find them.

Perhaps if I pull down the winter clothes from the attic the snow fort I built with my wingmates when I was an RA will tumble down with them? And behind the washing machine could I find some memories of my first dates with Brent? In the hall closet I pull out the feeling of holding my first daughter on my chest, examining her first new breaths. And behind the vacuum I discover I still have the memory of my first successful writing lesson with my students.

And little by little, memory by memory, I am amazed that we can accumulate life so exponentially.

So I throw out the stuff to make room for the life. I want to have space to remember what we lived here. I want to have empty places to fill with big memories.

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1 comment:

Melinda Moss said...

After moving and going through 13 years of accumulated (mostly) crap, I embraced the getting-rid-of. One of my friends kept dragging stuff out of the trash and saying "How can you get rid of this?" My answer was simply, it's just a thing. Nothing can ever take the memories from me. I actually felt sorry for her, because most of that stuff was really crap. LOL I hope she feels better soon, but something tells me she will die beneath a pile of crap.....