So my ex moved to a new apartment this weekend and found a few boxes of my things that had inadvertently gone to him when we split. Living in a shoebox as I do, I've been going through the boxes all day long so I can get them out of my livingroom as quickly as possible. It's been a trying day.
At this point in my life, I still see my marriage as something that I failed miserably at. I went through the boxes and found receipts and pamphlets from the several get-rich-quick and personal business opportunities that A and I invested in. We literally dumped thousands of dollars on Mary Kay cosmetics, ACN phone company, real estate investment companies and financial advisers. I winced each time I pulled out an item we had put so much hope and expectancy into and that had ultimately only caused us to lose more money. I'm not saying these businesses have never been successful for some, but my ex and I had to learn the hard way at least three different times to figure out that we're just not good at sales. What's worse, each of these ventures caused all kinds of friction in our marriage as we would blame the other one for wasting so much money and time on something that we knew they weren't going to succeed at.
Other boxes are full of cards and letters. Some of them from well-wishers when we got married, some of them to and from each other when we were dating or first married. Some of them from my mom. But most all of them painful reminders of a me that I don't really even remember. I look back on the time that those letters recall as one of doubt and fear. I don't remember the happy, love-smitten, spiritual giant that they describe. It's kept me wondering all day which was more authentic, the person all those cards and letters are talking to or the person that I remember?
Still other boxes are full of baby blankets that people made for our oldest son when he was born. I assume I received these simply because my ex didn't want to have to store them anymore. Still, they bring back ambivalent times. The months leading up to, during and after T's birth are some of the most painful and dark in my recent memory. They exposed a side of my ex that I hadn't known existed up to that point. The happy puppies and teddy bears on the blue and yellow backgrounds just seem flat and burdensome now.
So I guess ultimately what I'm asking is, what do I do with all this stuff? I have such limited space. My little apartment is already bursting at the seams with papers and pictures that the boys bring home from school and daycare. There's not a lot of room for much more. But at the same time, I'm reluctant to get rid of everything in those boxes. As painful as the memories are, they were a real part of my life, and I feel a need to hang on to some of it. Suggestions for sorting through all this mess would be great. How do you decide which memories to keep and which ones to toss?