Jeff Cheney and I went down to Dave's on Sunday and helped him (nearly) finish up clearing out his garage. Being in "spring cleaning" mode myself, I'm working my back something fierce, and I'll feel it in the morning.
There's something really fun about throwing out old stuff, even if it's someone else's... Of course the throwing itself is fun, but it's much deeper than that...
Often for myself (and also for lots of people I know), carrying stuff around is about endings, but frequently we don't realize it until we have to toss it in a dumpster.
The things we carry around for the sake of nostalgia signify points in our lives where something ended. The tendency to dwell on the history associated with objects, recalls how a time in our lives ended, or how we saw the end of an experience approaching. It's easy to use these memories to define ourselves, but it can also be self-deceptive...
The catch is that with every ending there's also a beginning, and the memories we carry around with us have little or nothing to do with real-world beginnings or endings.
In fact it's our beginnings which are most important. The beginnings we make every day make a huge difference -- the attitudes we take into our relationships with people, the way with which we approach our missions and goals, the ways we express our needs and react to those of others, the commitment we have (or don't have) to living our lives...
I threw out a whole lot of stuff over the weekend, some of which was mine, some of which was Dave's, and a lot of which wasn't either. I feel better.