Moving is always a complicated, painful process. No matter what, we leave behind something we know and we go towards something new, whether it be a house, an office, a city, a state, or all of the above and more! It is emotionally and physically exhausting, and yet, it is also a reaffirming process.
Last week I found myself helping my husband clear over 30 years of debris from his office in Texas. Stuff we had carted from one city to another suddenly seemed too old, too tired, too outdated, too heavy, too voluminous. We were looking at a lifetime of working papers and books. A young professor in the hall remarked that she had moved ten boxes from one side of campus to the other, and yet she had not opened a single one of the boxes in her new office. Now older and wiser in the ways of the world, we could relate to the experience, witness the mountain of papers that we had wheeled around for years. And we were determined not to move what needed to be thrown out.
As we filled at least five or six carts with our past, apologizing profusely to the custodial staff for all the extra work we were generating, there were a few things we could not part with, like the set of old fashioned slides that had gotten John’s first academic job, or the bound theses of every student who had ever gotten a PhD under his direction, or the pictures of us young and fresh and unwrinkled. As we emptied into the trash mountains of now useless papers or outdated books, I could not help but be impressed by what remained: John’s knowledge, safely stored in his brain, easily accessible to his creativity, powering his work ethic and his willingness to have a positive impact on the world.
We left behind those things that do not matter, the connections to those who have no need to be part of our lives. We took with us the wisdom and the knowledge we need to forge ahead.
While maybe the process of cleaning out was not cathartic (it was, instead, physically and emotionally, exhausting), we move towards the future knowing that we have all we need: our love first and foremost, our willingness to live with wonder and a sense of adventure, the affection of those people we can truly call our friends, and the depth of wisdom and knowledge that have been hard earned with blood, sweat and tears.
And so I realize that we threw out the notes with which important chapters of our life were written, but the essence of what matters will remain with us forever.
Goodbye old, hello new.
Life is Amazing! Live well.