So I’m trying to do the purge thing. (And no, I’m not bulimic – in that respect I’m only capable of bingeing!) I’m attempting to go through the (very crowded, cluttery) house and get rid of things. It’s pretty overwhelming…and I mostly had been walking into rooms, looking around helplessly, doing an immediate about-face and leaving. (Makes purging difficult if you’re not actually physically in the room you want to work on.) But you have to start somewhere, and Saturday I decided to work in the office. I tackled the file cabinet in the afternoon.
There were old (precious) family photos and school photos from Mom’s teaching days – which need to go in the family archives; user manuals for various electronics and appliances; old tax records; insurance stuff…you know, the usual. And it seems Dad has almost been compulsive about saving check stubs…clear back into the mid-90’s. (Those are getting shredded!) I found a few letters I’d written home while I was away at school or working after college. I always find these fascinating because they can truly transport me back in time. (But you have to be careful with letters...because you end up reading instead of purging!)
One mentioned a conversation I’d had with the former roommate of a new roommate. She’d talked about living alone (which has been much on my mind of late), and she said there were two things you could do if you lived alone: 1) make yourself get out there and associate with people and do your best to stay busy; or 2) become a hermit. I can totally see that, because most of the time lately I’ve been hermit-ing. And I can recognize where that could become a (bad) habit.
I also found something I’d written about friendships…and expectations of friendships, and the give and take of the relationship. I summed up by saying, In friendship, as in every other area of life, there are highs and lows. Occasionally the lows seem lower and more frequent than the highs, but that brings us back to those expectations. We are all very human. We bring our frailties and weaknesses and needs and desires to each relationship. These may often be out of sync with what the other person brings.
(I think I was more mature when I was in my late 20’s…which is somewhat disheartening considering I’m well into Senior Citizenship.)
I’ve been reading Glenn Beck’s new book, “The 7: Seven Wonders That Will Change Your Life” – co-written with Dr. Keith Ablow. Glenn talks about how he doesn’t believe in coincidences…he calls them “breadcrumbs” (as in a trail of breadcrumbs that lead you back to the right path – a lá Hansel & Gretel). One of his most significant breadcrumbs was running into an attractive woman three times in one week. He ended up marrying her. (Talk about your upscale French Boulangerie-baked loaf of bread!) And so he now looks for all the breadcrumbs that come his way…never discounting what might seem to be insignificant.
I think the letter home and the essay on friendship may have been my Saturday breadcrumbs. I know they appeared at a time when I’m conscious of a very real future spent alone and a time when some very close friendships seem to have foundered a bit. Perhaps I should take the finding of these as gifts, little arrows to point me back to my path. It makes me wonder what other treasures I may find as I continue opening cabinets and going through drawers…and if they, too, may prove to be breadcrumbs.