Here’s something that will ring a bell for many of you, as it did for me. It’s amazing how you can lose track of your tidying up when you get lost in the memories that old notebooks conjure up!
So here it is another new year, and here I am once again, picking up and cleaning up, getting rid of the old to make way for the new, editing and shredding, filing and piling, giving away and throwing away – all in an effort to tidy up the past to make room for the future.
It’s a daunting task.
I am not a collector, but you live long enough and you end up collecting things. Handprints your kids made when they really were kids. Greeting cards that go back 50 years….
… And notebooks. Dozens and dozens of notebooks.
I started with the notebooks, because boxes full of them are crowding my office: white reporter notebooks, which I have been using for 35 years.
They live in cardboard boxes, 2006 mixed in with 1985 and 1992 and 2001.
The wheat from the chaff. That was my goal. That’s all I had to do. Look inside these notebooks, give them a cursory read and decide what to keep and file, and what to throw way.
But it’s all daunting. Cleaning up and organizing, staying focused and on task – impossible, because here’s the thing. You cannot look through notebooks or greeting cards or books or records or even a drawer full of scarves without losing your direction.
You may be aiming for the future, eyes on a clutter-free tomorrow, heart in the right direction, but then you stumble upon a sentence, or a signature, or remember a song and where you were and who you were when you first heard it. Or you hold a knitted scarf in your hands and see the sweet 11-year-old who knitted it for you, her first real scarf, and all of a sudden you’re not looking at the future anymore, you’re not even in the present. You’ve been hijacked to Memory Lane.