In the Age of Coronavirus, like so many people, I have reclaimed the room originally designated as my office when we moved into our home more than 22 years ago. Through the decades, it had instead become the repository of all of the “stuff” our family had collected… mementos from vacations, a book collection rivaling the nearby branch of the public library (in volume, not necessarily in quality), papers… so many papers… of both a personal and professional nature and, frankly, tons and tons of junk! It really was overwhelming when, in April 2020, I decided I had to take it back and make it my office.
To start the process, I gutted the closet which meant going through 22 years’ worth of personal letters, greeting cards, holiday well wishes, business cards and the like that I’d been saving up. I made the enormously difficult and painful decision then that it all had to go… there was not room for me and the museum of artifacts I had accumulated. There were tears… so many tears… as I bagged up items I once swore I’d always keep.
When all was said and done, I made two major discoveries:
- I have an office! Essentially, it is my little oasis. A place to call mine where I can do my work, conduct business on my own, by phone, and by video conference. I even ran around the house gathering up photographs and artwork to put in frames and hang on the wall to make it feel a little cozier. I love it!
- The memories are still with me – even without all of the documentation. Going through all those letters, newspaper clippings (OK – I held on to those), holiday photo greetings from family and friends near and far through which I could literally watch my little “nieces” and “nephews” grow up before my very eyes with each successive year’s photos, etc. was an incredible gift. Through those many tears I mentioned, I also donned more than a few smiles and laughed out loud sitting there on the floor of my office. I learned that I don’t need the physical evidence – well, at least not as much of it as I once had – to hold those memories close. They are still in my possession.
Do what you will with your cherished mementos… I still have more than a few letters, cards, photo greetings, et al that I have held on to, but I urge you to take time to look through them now and then. Purge some of it, if you need the space and/or a reminder of special times gone by. What a gift!