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Memories Old and New

As I was cleaning this weekend, I took a good long look at the picture frames sprinkled around my house.  Every now and then I take particular notice of them, but most of the time they blend in to the surround sound of visual white noise.

What I thought about is how old the pictures are and why I bother to keep them on display.  Why keep them up if I don’t pay attention to them? Why, with all of the wonderful new memories I have, with the thousands of photos I take every year, do I continue to display old ones?

Am I clinging to the past or celebrating it?

I have a tendency toward infusing objects with my emotions. Or perhaps confusing objects with emotion. To put away a photo can feel like a statement that the experience it documents doesn’t matter, as though I’m saying that time in my life, that person, that memory has no value to me. Throwing or giving away sentimental items is even harder. 

I’ve been working on that these last two years, with great results, but I don’t think it’s a part of me that will ever really change.

It does get easier.  This time I kept some and took some down.  I definitely want to highlight new memories, but there are a few old times that I’m not yet ready to let out of my sight.

And that’s okay.

Items of Interest:

How do you know when it’s time to let go?

Why do I hold on to things?


19 Comments Post a comment
  1. great post! i can definitely relate to how you are feeling.

    January 7, 2013
  2. It is hard to let go of things that have sweet memories attached. I am working on clearing things out–again. It takes a while.

    January 7, 2013
    • I think of you every time I do a post like this 🙂 I know this is one thing we have in common, that we are always working on clearing things out. I think that maybe I’ll always be clearing things out now, and it’s an on-going process. But at least I’m doing it, slowly but surely.

      January 15, 2013
  3. There is an interesting fact that I read in an article. It is that humans are not wired to really understand photographs. They confuse them with the real object. In a study performed to test this, volunteers were asked to throw darts at a dartboard which had a photo of a baby on one, and the photo of Hitler on the other. Volunteers performed considerably worse when it was the baby’s face staring out at them.

    And thus, for you to confuse objects with emotions, or to attach importance to old photos and memories is completely understandable 🙂

    January 8, 2013
    • That is interesting! And it really makes sense to me. I tried looking that up, and found a study similar to it, that showed people were less able to hit the baby face when they were in a good mood. I know I get into moods where it’s easier for me to purge and separate my emotions from the objects, and moods when I have a terrible time with that. The human mind is so complicated and interesting!

      January 15, 2013
      • It is, isn’t it? Psychology is a truly fascinating field of study. But I chose not to study it professionally. I think had i been forced to learn about the various stages of psych a child goes through as s/he grows, I’d have been bored stiff of my field of study – unlike right now, where I can just read about the stuff that interests me and skip the bits that don’t 😉

        January 15, 2013
        • See, the child development stuff is what really interest me the most! If I had to do it all over again, I think I’d go into that field of study. But I’m with you on the pick and choose thing! I never finished college, partly because I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I wish they had a class that introduced you to something totally different every week, maybe I would have stumbled onto something I actually liked before I gave up.

          January 15, 2013
          • Well, there was a book on Psych I read when I was in 10th grade, and the child development stuff was easily the most boring in that book. I’ve always been a little biased against it, since then. Haven’t had an opportunity to read more about it.

            I know what you mean. For me, it was a little simplified, since I applied keeping in mind courses that I liked. Of course, that meant that I was closing off other options, and I don’t know what I would have done had I eventually deicded that my field of study does Not interest me :/

            January 15, 2013
          • I tried two or three different things without success. It kind of made my head explode a little, haha. Of course, this was over 20 years ago, so things may be really different now.

            January 15, 2013
        • Aha! I now have a rough idea about how old you are!

          I don’t mean to be intrusive or anything. It’s just that, when I read your blog, I like to be able to picture you. It’s just what we readers do when we read, right? The more incomplete the picture, the more details we seek, to fill in. Usually, books lay out the character profiles well enough. A blog sometimes does, but as in your case, mostly doesn’t.
          Having a rough idea about your age is like a jigsaw puzzle piece that I will now fit into my mental picture of you. 🙂

          ^ That probably sounds very creepy. I can assure you, I’m not.

          January 16, 2013
          • I completely understand! I like when people put up their pictures, because I am a visual kind of person, as well. I will tell you that I’m 43 – since September. So, you know, just barely 🙂

            On another note, I had my comments set to nest 4 deep, but I had to change it so I could respond. That is the reason I haven’t been able to answer some of your other comments in the past (it wouldn’t let me comment any more). I think I had to change it one other time to respond to you (and another time to answer Angela), because I just couldn’t stop talking.

            Also, I’ll answer here since it wouldn’t let me on the other one – I was just teasing about the conceding 🙂 Actually, I change my mind all the time after talking to people on here. I love having my eyes opened to other possibilities and view points. But on the other hand, I also love to win! So I wasn’t unhappy to hear you say that you concede too, haha!!

            January 16, 2013
          • Oh. In such cases, I usually just go to the last ‘Reply’ link available in the conversation, which means the comments don’t nest anymore but fall in a single line. I don’t know if that’s not what you meant!

            Okay so now that I know your age, I’ll tell you this, from your writing, I sort of imagined you to be in your later twenties or early thirties. I figured that it might not be the best estimate, when you wrote about your marriage/divorce.
            Of course, writing isn’t the best way to gauge age anyway. When I read Jacqueline Wilson’s literature for children, i always imagined her to be someone much younger, who was so good at looking at things from a child’s PoV. Imagine my surprise when i first saw her photo and saw that she had white hair!

            You’re more than twice my age – I hope this knowledge won’t (i) make you feel old! (ii) cause you to treat me as a kid, who’s not to be taken seriously 😛

            January 17, 2013
          • I’m trying it this way – reply from the little box on the bar at the top of my screen. The reply is not there at the bottom of your comment, since it reached the limit I set.

            Anyway, you can still think of me as a thirty-something, how’s that? I’m working through things now that maybe other people worked through in their late twenties or thirties. Like what I want to do with my life kind of things. Or maybe I’m early for the mid-life crisis kind of re-inventing yourself stuff that many people go through. 🙂

            And twice your age, you say? Twice. No. No, that doesn’t make me feel old at all. Not one bit. Twice, huh? Oh wait, you said MORE THAN twice. How could you be so mean??!!! 😉 Of course I take you seriously! Everyone deserves to be taken seriously. I thought you were about twenty. I know your letters are to your twenty year old self, but I was thinking you were working through your twenties. I think as a person who’s been there already, there will be many things that I see differently. It’s easy to forget what it felt like to be a younger version of myself, but I try to remember that everyone’s feelings and experiences are valid and important!

            January 17, 2013
          • Oh, see, what I do is, I keep going up the line of comments until I reach one with the Reply link. It puts the comment at the bottom of the entire line, just like otherwise.

            The age doesn’t really matter, you know? I suppose the reason I thought of you as a thirty-something, or a twenty-something is due to those things that you’re working through. In a way, I appreciate it, because a lot of people become rather self-assured around 40 and then they Can come off as pricks.

            I write letters to my Future Self, which may be any age 😛
            You see, a lot of people (the aforementioned pricks) think they know the best way to do stuff (my parents included). They think their way is the right way, that their years of experience have taught them stuff that we don’t know and that it is their duty to keep telling us what to do. I don’t think that’s the right way to go about life. But that is an attitude I generally associate with people much older than me.
            That said, I do Not think you’ve so far displayed any of those traits – I really like you for it.

            January 18, 2013
          • Okay, I’m trying that

            January 18, 2013
          • Hey – you taught me something new! See, young people can teach old people new tricks 🙂 I don’t know why I’ve got it in my head that you write to your 20 year old self. Maybe it’s because we mentioned it in the comments on the Query about what you’d say to your 20 year old self. I got that 20 stuck in my head.

            As for advice, I’ve been known to be bad about that from time to time myself – just ask my sister. A lot of us (no matter the age) think we know what’s right and good not just for ourselves but for everyone else too. Sometimes I get overbearing in my desire to steer someone in the direction I think they should go. As much as I don’t want other people to do that to me, I’ve still been guilty of doing it to others.

            I can say that when you care about someone, it can be almost unbearable to see them in pain or struggling or even just wavering a bit. We want so badly for that person to be well and happy and successful and everything possibly good. So we try to get them to learn from our pain, our mistakes, instead of letting them experience things on their own. We think we can save people from the hard parts of life, things that, honestly, can be beneficial to go through. Even so, I think we can give advice and try to guide others in a way that’s gentle and kind and loving. As opposed acting bossy, overbearing and…well, like a prick.

            Ultimately, we mostly have to learn things on our own. People can tell us how things feel, but I want to KNOW how things feel. I wouldn’t really want to go through life without EXPERIENCING life.

            January 18, 2013
  4. I love looking at old photographs and remembering the events that took place. It’s amazing to see how much younger we looked, when our current faces may have changed so much. Time does march on, and remembering can be bittersweet.

    January 8, 2013
    • That’s a great word – bittersweet. It’s so lovely to remember, so wonderful to look back on wonderful times. But as much as I love seeing my nephews grow up, for example, it’s terrible to know that I will never again experience their childhood.

      January 15, 2013

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