Monday, August 25, 2014

live and let go.

I usually try to keep things pretty light around here. I'm very aware of the whole "your grandkids may be able to clone you based on your internet life that lives in the cloud" theory. I want them to clone the best possible version of me, and leave the bad stuff in the past where it belongs.

Speaking of leaving the stuff in the past, I have a serious issue with letting go of things. Not even emotional things - I'm actually pretty good at the whole "forgive and forget" way of living. I'm talking about silly things like ticket stubs from a baseball game that I randomly attended with friends, cheap-o jewelry that is tarnished and out-dated, thrifted t-shirts that are waaaayyyy too small because "maybe my kids can wear them!"

I can attach an emotion or a memory to anything. And it makes it incredibly difficult for me when things happen that are out of my control, and I am no longer in possession of one or more of my belongings. I've had two Jeeps stolen since living in Chicago. The first had my favorite bathing suit in it, an awesome red igloo cooler, newspapers from the day after Obama was elected president and a book of my favorite CDs. The second had less. Todd's first Ray-Bans that I bought him and my Walt Disney World Mickey antennae ball from my 2003 road trip w/ Lindsay after our freshman year of college. Each time the car was found completely stripped with nothing left but a milk crate where the driver's seat should be. People are terrible.

Last week I was pick pocketed for the first time in the 10 years that I've lived here. I was having lunch outside with my back pack on the back of my chair and someone stole my wallet, a compact mirror that I gave to all my bridesmaids at my wedding, and my make-up bag (it was leather and probably just looked like a clutch). All this happened right behind my back. I feel violated and vulnerable, but mostly heartbroken over my leather wallet that I bought for myself when I first moved to the city, my gold dive card that I earned in 2001 that cannot be replaced (the new ones are blue. and stupid.), the playing card that Justin slipped in my wallet as a practical joke because magic makes me nervous, and the spare key to my mom's old Jeep that my dad saved for me when he finally sold it last year. Thinking about these things makes me cry. People are terrible.

It's hard for me not to just let this turn into a tail-spin post of how horrible people are - how they need to get a real job and earn their own money and not steal from people who work hard. That can lead to a lot of controversial topics that are really just coming from the heightened emotions of my own heartache. Bad things happen. Sometimes it feels like they happen all the time. And only to me. I know that's not true, but I feel like I've had my fair share so if the world could just lay off for a while, I would really appreciate it.

I need to bring this back around. I feel myself going down that tail-spin I mentioned. Basically, a lesson that I have to re-learn every time something like this happens is to let go. Let go of the physical things. They don't take the memories with them when they are gone. I have those. I will remember Justin's tormenting sense of humor without the 4 of clubs. I will remember my first dive and getting certified with my sister at 17 without my original gold card. I will remember that white Jeep Grand Cherokee and every memory made in it for 15 years without that key I carried around in my wallet.

Even before this happened, I had mentally been trying to prepare myself to "purge" at our house. I've been watching friends as they prepare their house for the arrival of their baby, and have been thinking about all the things I have carried with me from apartment to apartment. All the things "I need to save!" but have been feeling less attached to as I continue my new life with Todd. We have unpacked boxes of photos and trinkets and mementos, and they're all mine. I feel guilty that our house is filled with my clutter. Boxes of things that were important to me once as I tried to hold onto every single moment, as if they all needed to last forever. Moments that no longer really matter. They have made me who I am, and I am grateful. But I want our house to be filled with our memories. Our family. Our friends. Not with boxes of my past. I do not need every tiny t-shirt that I once fit into in high school. I do not need the key chain "ticket" from senior prom. Every time I lose something that I most treasured, these other items I've held onto become even less important. If I can keep the memories of my most loved treasures without the actual physical thing, why am I holding onto all of this other junk?

It's hard for me to learn this lesson over and over and over again. I couldn't even leave a towel at the bottom of the ocean, for pete's sake. (See previous vacation post for that reference.) But I try. Or I am trying. Or I will try. One of those. My heart still breaks though. And it hurts.