I’ve tried to stay as far away as possible from Marie Kondo’s book on organizing, even though I badly need help. My brain just does not think in an organized way and it’s truly painful for me to try to imagine organization schemes.
But I couldn’t help it. I was curious to see a couple of Kondo’s videos. Using her methods, I liberated significant drawer space by folding underwear and t-shirts her way. I can’t deny it–that felt good. And made me consider our relationship with “stuff” and specifically, my own relationship with it, which can be best termed “conflicted.”
Moving so many times since 1984 meant that I’ve lost a significant number of photos and mementoes from my youth. Using that term broadly, of course. I found the equivalent of a medium-sized box of historical photos and letters that were important to me (see images) but for the most part, my archival record is spotty and I’ve had to be ok with the loss of years and years of photographs.
But that doesn’t mean I’ll discard what I do have.
It moves me deeply to run my fingers over that note my mother wrote me, knowing she held the paper in her hand, put her thoughts down in her distinctive handwriting, inserted it into an envelope. I can imagine her pride and her happiness on that day. Cards for holidays and birthdays were also in the box–what to do with them?.They are of no real use to me now, except for the nostalgia. What does Marie K say about nostalgia? I don’t know; I didn’t read her book. Nostalgia isn’t joy, her measurement of an item’s worth. If joy has value, shouldn’t nostalgia?
When Michael and I divorced I had no reason to hold on to images and mementos from our 11 years together. If someone had told me that 26 years later we would remarry I’d have scoffed. So when most of those things disappeared over time, I felt only mild disappointment. But later, what DID bring me joy was finding this photo of us in 1971 after we got engaged. And some from his law school graduation. And even a few from our early married life. The thing is, you never know. And that’s the truth. You never know.
But then, what will happen to those photos? We don’t have children, so they are of no value to anyone but us. Maybe my nephew would sort through them after we’re gone and pick some favorites to illustrate the stories he’ll tell about us.
See, that’s the thing. Marie Kondo is youngish. Her children are young. It’s hard to be nostalgic when you are 34 years old.
Things look different on this end of life.
Am I overthinking this?