Why is it so difficult to go through and get rid of the stacks of paper that we accumulate? Why don’t we just throw stuff out on a regular basis like we do with that mold encrusted tomato in the back of the fridge. (Well, I guess it would not get moldy if it was a regular thing.) But paper just sifts its way onto every available surface and stays there. I’m pretty good at tidying it up and putting it in one place but why don’t I just deal with it at that moment? The important stuff — usually receipts I know I can take off my taxes — get tucked in a basket to be filed at some point but I always know where they are. It’s all the other stuff like old calendars and papers I wrote 25 years ago or that cute card that Mary sent me for my birthday. Isn’t it worth keeping some of this stuff?
Early on in this getting-ready-to-move drill, I took care of the “easy” stuff like shredding old taxes and copies of paid bills and the first-and-second-and-third drafts of my books and even my Master’s thesis which I was not proud of and which represented a really, really, really terrible time in my life — anyway, I wrote a book based on it and I certainly did not shred that. After the shredding was done, I remembered feeling so proud of myself as I carried out those four big garbage bags of shredded Annie History to the curb to be recycled.
But, alas, I ignored and put off making the decision about the tough stuff until now. I have reached the place of no more time to procrastinate. The move happens in less than a month and there is absolutely no room in that inn to take stacks of memorabilia from lifetimes long past.
One of the hardest decision for me to make was whether I should box up and carry my calendars from the last ten years or longer with me or purge them all and send the pages to the unforgiving blades of the shredder. My first inclination was a resounding “Yes”. I love my calendars. I love looking back on other years and getting a little memory jolt of the people I was hanging out with and what I was doing — or not doing. Isn’t that in itself a reason to hold onto them especially now as I age and when my memory of what I did yesterday becomes fuzzy sometimes?
I decided to consult others on this topic. Judith did not hesitate one second before she said, “Get rid of them. It’s old energy and it will just hold you back.” I asked her if maybe I could keep just the last couple of years. Nope. She was not budging on this. She never carries the old calendar into the new year where it might block some good energy coming her way. Blank slates are what are needed for new beginnings. After talking to her, I took all the calendars off the shelf and put them in the shredding bag.
Then, I told Merrill what I was doing. “No,” she said. “You should keep them for the memories that they hold.” or something like that. It made sense and certainly echoed my own initial thinking on the subject. I took the calendars out of the recycle bag and put them back on the shelf.
But then I remembered that I wasn’t taking the big black bookcase where they lived and, once again, thought of the lack of storage in the new place. That led me for some reason to think about the fire in Montreal all those years ago. There I was staring at a burning building and knowing that everything I owned — including my calendar — was gone. I survived without it then and I certainly can do the same now. I put the calendars back in the shredding bag.
This morning I pulled one out and caressed the pages and flipped through it at random weeks and read what I was doing in 2008. Did I need to remember now — ten years later — that I had an appointment with Dr. G or that I taught a class at Chesswood or that I needed to stop the subscription to the Toronto Star on September 4? The answer was obvious. I started tearing pages out and feeding them into the shredder and felt lighter as each page became shreds to be recycled. I’ll have to see if I keep my resolve all the way through or if I sneak one out to keep — bad energy or not.