One of the side effects of paring down one’s possessions is the discovery of items long since forgotten. The bracelet languishing at the bottom of a purse. A sweater shoved to the back of the drawer. The old light fixture in the basement that you hung on to “just in case.”
Along with physical items, I’ve unearthed snapshots of my past. These aren’t just photographs though. There’s the wish list from 1998. Notes from a workshop in 2004. Random quotes or questions scrawled on the backs of envelopes, hotel stationery, or torn from magazines. Questions that I tacked up on my mirror or refrigerator, in the hopes that finding the answer would give more direction and purpose to my life.
My reactions to these discoveries are all over the place. Some make me smile (ruefully or in genuine delight). Some took me back to the apartment or job I was in when I wrote it. Some fostered unexpected pride, reminding me that I’ve accomplished many of the things that were only a dream back when I wrote that note.
I’m amazed most by what hasn’t changed. My voice, the core of who I am, hasn’t changed much at all. Over the years, I’ve had experiences that have taught me a few things, but my basic way of approaching the world hasn’t changed all that much.
I’m curious, but more about ideas than people’s personal lives.
I never, ever feel good enough.
I struggle with conformity. I’m not rebellious, but I also know that many of life’s “shoulds” don’t sit well with my soul.
I feel more deeply than I let on.
In my quest to lead a simpler life, I’m removing a lot of habits and posessions from my life. But I don’t think I’m going to stop leaving these little reminders. The note tucked into a book, the starred post in my blog reader, the dogeared page in a journal are a sort of message in a bottle, reminding me that somewhere in the busy-ness of life, the person I really am, is still there, seeing and observing it all with wonder, amusement and generous love.