In my family, I come from a long line of pack-rats - beginning with my mother. Call it sentimentality if you will, or call it not being able to let go of the past, either way - it's extremely difficult for us to throw out anything that has even the remotest memory attached to it.
Lately I've been making the attempt to go through my boxes and boxes of belongings and throw away things that I either have no use for, or don't really need to hold on to. Pictures and awards from high school, I'll keep. But do I really need to hold on to my hall passes, used planners, and every note a friend ever wrote me? I don't think so. It's been quite the painful process, detaching myself from these physical objects - useless, though they be...
Why? Why is it so hard for me to let go?
...Nonetheless, to help myself along, I just ask, "in 20 years from now, will I regret throwing this out? Will I even remember that I had it in the first place?"
If the answers are "no", then why is it still a little painful for me to let go?
Now I've taken an even bigger step. I've dealt with letting go of things from a much more recent past: my college years. I won't lie, one of the biggest obstacles in my life lately has been trying to move on from college. They were the best years of my life. So much joy, so much passion, so many dear ones.
Getting married and graduating were the first steps to moving on. I suppose if I had an actual job and didn't just sit around all day, this would be a much simpler task. But when all you have to do is sit around and reminisce about the past and long for those days again, then difficulties arise. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against reminiscing - I actually think we can learn a lot from our past, even years and years later. But when it takes up a majority of your time - well, "too much of anything is a bad thing" - as my favorite saying goes.
...But I digress: letting go. I am attempting to move forward with my life. And before I do so, I need to let go of my past. And I have begun the process with one of the hardest things I've had to do - letting go of much of my college ... stuff. Anything that I don't need to hold on to - that I won't remember years from now: notebooks filled with notes from Cline, Harter, Veydt, Letherer, and Patton classes...mod-podged shoe boxes...even chapel schedules...
...and it was painful. I did shed a tear or two, coming to the realization that I would never again take classes at Spring Arbor, be a part of a theater production there, or live on it's campus again. I would never live in an apartment full of wonderful girls, stand in the wings backstage tearing up at the end of a play, or sit and listen Patton's deep theological ponderings.
I suppose letting go has been so difficult because life has crept up on me so fast, I wasn't ready to be done with college, I am not ready to be an adult in the "real world" - at least, I don't feel like I am.
And here's the hardest part: I had to come to terms with the fact that it's okay. It's alright that I'll never experience those things again, because my life ahead of me is going to be full of enough adventures and learning experiences: my first teaching job, getting my masters, my first house, my first child (the latter two YEARS down the road).
...Now my youth is packed into a mere two boxes - one for childhood and high school, one for college - and a new era has begun. I'm naming it the era of Cheryl Hoskins. I loved being young, I loved being a teenager (I actually cried when I turned 20), and I loved being an early-20's adult. I am now in my mid-twenties and find that ready-or-not, frightened-or-not, the rest of my life is beginning.
And I'd better hop on board before it leaves without me.
Much Love to All,