25 May 2010

Letting Go - Corollary A

So, why do we hold on to the things we do? As I sifted through the medley of items collected throughout my years on this planet (as discussed in the previous post), it occurs to me I have no reasonable logic behind keeping what I keep. And throwing what I throw, for that matter.

Exhibit A: I found my wedding dress about three days ago. After my wedding, I'd had small damage repaired, the entire thing cleaned, and then boxed/packaged up nicely in a "keepsake box". The heavy-duty cardboard box contains a clear oval cut-out, which allows me to view the wedding dress's bodice in its beaded and sequined glory. However, it creeps me out a bit, as the dress is fitted over a dismembered plastic mannequin torso, rendering it head and legless. Kind of like Stephen King meets "Brides" magazine.

Of course, I wish I knew what exactly I was thinking some thirteen years ago when I had it done. The purpose? The need? Who knows. More provocative, though, is why I've left it that way for the last decade-plus. And why now do I have the fervid desire to rip the box open, put it on (even though it will be too big), and go shopping at WalMart?

Who can comprehend the post-wedding human mind? Who, indeed?

Exhibit #2: I'd packed five years' worth of "free" Iowa State University phone books into my Container O' Memories. Every dorm room had its own copy, which found its way into my luggage at the end of every school year.


Originally, I think I kept them as proof of my progression through college; proof that I'd actually made it. You know, in case I ever lost my diploma or developed amnesia and forgot I graduated from college. Now, I think I've saved them because I'm so vain (I probably think this phone book is about me).

It occurs to me now that I should have just ripped out the page containing my name and saved that instead of the whole phone book. Oh well, in another ten years, when I go through those relics again, I'll do just that.

Going through all this stuff has provided a key discovery to my own personality: I keep things that remind me of things I could possibly forget. That's why the most of the Rochester Post-Bulletins of my children's birthdays did not make the cut...I will never forget my children or when I had them. They were the important things that occurred on those days; all other top stories are irrelevant to me. But, the 9/11 newspapers remain because it's an important historical event I don't want to forget.

And for this reason, the collegiate phone books will join the discard pile someday. I doubt I'll ever forget I went to college; I mean, every job I've ever gotten is because I have a college diploma.

And the wedding dress? Will I ever forget I'm married? I doubt it. Not when I wake up next a cute, conservative Aquarius every morning. Not when I interact with my three children on a daily basis (one of whom is his dad through and through). Not when I see our wedding picture displayed in the living room. Not when I catch the glint of my wedding band on my ring finger.

Now...if I ever get Alzheimer's...all bets are off.

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