Letting Go

Thankfully I survived what I’m affectionately calling the move from hell. Without internet for nearly a week, without time to think, let alone write, after carloads upon carloads of boxes, my husband and I are now officially moved into our new home. After getting the kitchen and computer set up, I immediately focused my efforts on the bedroom we’d be using as an office. Naturally.

I had boxed up all my books from the apartment and I had four Rubbermaid tubs full of books from my childhood home that I picked up on my road trip back in April. And now, with the new home, I had a dedicated space for everything. I sorted, stacked, and reminisced as I pulled out tomes ranging from Dr. Seuss to Claude Levi-Strauss.

In the bottom of one of the tubs from my dad’s house, I had stashed a bunch of notebooks from high school and college. I’ve already confessed to being a packrat, and in true form, I’ve kept all my school notes, reports, what-have-you from about eighth grade through college.

I’m not exactly sure where the compulsion to do so came from. Maybe I liked having tangible evidence of everything I learned in school. Or maybe it was just the reassurance of being able to refer to their contents later on. At some point I decided I was holding onto those materials just in case. In case I needed them as fodder for the stories I’d write one day. Last week as I leafed through the faded materials, tracked my handwriting across the years, I realized I didn’t need to hold onto these things any longer.

I pulled out a few handouts, kept a couple of sections of notes, but what I deemed worth keeping was only a fraction of what I’ve collected over the years. The rest of the stuff will be unceremoniously dumped in the trash. But I have to ask myself why now. Why was I able to let go of these materials now? A couple of years ago the mere thought of discarding these items would have sent me into conniptions. So what is it about this point in my life?

I think it’s because I’m writing now instead of just dreaming about it. For example, I’ve kept every book I’ve bought or been gifted. Now that I’m writing seriously, I’ve revisited old favorites and analyzed others with new, writerly eyes. I also collected notebooks for years, but never wrote in them. Once I started taking myself seriously, suddenly it was ok for me to write on the hallowed pages.

And I think the same thing has happened with my old school materials. They were my security blanket, my just in case. I kept everything because I didn’t know what would be useful to me in the future. Now, though I understand better what resources I do and don’t need.

I don’t need them to help me in research as I’m confident in my abilities to find the information I need without digging through decades of school materials. Thanks, internet.

I don’t need my old notes for inspiration. I have that in spades from other sources.

And I don’t need them to hold onto the past. Not anymore.

I’m moving on.

What kind of things have you been holding onto in anticipation of following your dreams? What’s your just in case and the tools you need for it?

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3 thoughts on “Letting Go

  1. Adventures in Children's Publishing says:

    I'm glad you survived your move! Congrats on “letting go.” It's not always easy. I'm the anti-hoarder, so I tend to get rid of everything. Sometimes, this doesn't always work out. I've thrown plenty of things away that I realized later on I wanted. One thing I tend to keep are books. I try to pass them on to other people so I'm less compelled to keep them, knowing they'll go on to be useful to someone else.


  2. Cruella Collett says:

    I'm like that. Convinced that the second I throw it out I will suddenly get a desperate need for my third grade paper about budgerigars. Worried that I will ruin my pretty notebooks by my clumsy writing that never will turn into anything tangible. Thanks for showing me that this can be a passing condition. Hopefully I'll recover from it sometime soon too.

    Congratulations on having survived the move 🙂

  3. Vatche says:

    Hey, Bluestocking!

    I have collected all my writings from 9th grade on, but even though I'm eighteen years old, I know that I'm keeping them forever. I will not let go of them, because they are the pegs of my ladder toward becoming a published writer. At least, that's what I believe. So, I guess I'm a hoarder myself. 😀

    But they are not just that, but memories of times when I wasn't as good in writing as I am today. They are the memories of things I've forgotten or pushed aside, but every time that I look at them, I remember those things that were forgotten. It's good to remember, I believe, and also it's always great to see how much you've changed over the years.

    Write on and congrats on moving!

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