Monday, April 4, 2016

Simplifying the Sentimental


Post originally published by Jennifer X on Born Jennius, 04 April 2016.

Slowly yet surely, I’ve been getting rid of things or organizing things to go out.

I don’t think of myself as highly sentimental, but for certain things I can be. I recently went through the box of correspondences and a couple boxes of photo prints. It was tougher than I thought it would be. I went back and forth on deciding what to keep or not. I had to face a lot of bittersweet stuff in those photos. I might have done something that looked similar to crying.

I tend to hold on to good memories and bad memories. I’m keeping a few letters from an ex-friend. Why? As reminders that I need to cultivate more grace for others, and for myself, and that sometimes people just want what they want. The tough experiences are a part of the person I am today as much as the good ones.

I did condense things and freed up an entire photo box.




Memories of my last relationship are… bittersweet also. I still feel some guilt about it, about going into that relationship at all – he was a good guy, but I wasn’t in a good place. I didn’t have much to keep from that time except for these two oversized flowers. I could look at the flowers and not feel much of anything sad, like it didn’t make me miss him or us or anything of that sort. They actually represented good memories for me, two small yet of the purest good memories. I cling to my good memories in general because the bad ones are easier for me to recall.

The flowers were both pleasant surprises. I think the first one was a non-occasion gift and the second was for my birthday. I remember not knowing how to react. I’ve received gifts and flowers from guys before but these flowers were surprises from my (then) boyfriend, so I was happy about them. I don’t think he saw that in my reaction and I think he really wanted to. It was somewhat early in the relationship. Still, they were good memories for me. It was a sweet thing he did.

I finally threw them out. Not for any symbolic “I’m over him” thing or anything – that had been over a decade ago and I’ve moved on. Sometimes, I think that was a different person (me) in that relationship. I threw them out because they were huge! And taking up space, and falling apart, in my room. My cats had scratched them up also.

I didn’t get a last picture of them because I just wanted to get on with it, no hesitation. I had already thought about it a couple times the week before and then said, “It’s time, old friends.” It was trash night. They’re probably in old pictures somewhere.


I have a long way to go in clearing out things, but that was a good, while tiring, session. I suppose I’m sharing this because so far, the decluttering/ simplifying things by other people that I’ve come across has mostly been about the easier things, the less sentimental, but one will have moments of having to make tougher decisions of what to keep and what to move out. It’s okay if one does something like crying during a clearing out session.


I think that when I get it all down to a more noticeable difference, a greater clearing in my room, that’s probably when I’ll be able to let go of more of the unpleasant mementos.

For now, I keep on with it and remind myself of the larger goal: to make room for more life.

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