This time, I decided to go into my current box of memorabilia and let go of the easier ones to part with. I am using tip number 14 to help me be minimal, I might say this is a brilliant suggestion. I have discovered it softens the blow of parting with things.
I am a very sentimental person. I saved letters given to me since kindergarten, all sorts of keepsakes, tokens, somethings-to-remember-me-by, and souvenirs. I saved them all. I didn’t keep them just to keep them. When I was feeling particularly sad or lonely, I would read some of the letters, or look at a particular item, and it would always warm my heart. I cherished them, kept them in a locked cabinet, until I didn’t. I don’t exactly remember how I got rid of them, but for dramatic purposes, I want to say I burned them.
In 2011, I moved here, to the United States. I can’t very well bring all of my things from the Philippines. My dad still lives there and he’s not throwing away anything. But the thought of my most treasured items left in a room, unguarded, uncared for. My secrets, my feelings, my life – they’re who I was and who I am. I felt vulnerable. So I burned them all. Only keeping but a few more recent and most treasured items at that time.
If I read Fumio Sasaki’s book back then, I would have thought to scan or take pictures of the things I let go before I did. I’m actually thankful I didn’t. Yes, currently it is helpful, but that was a different time. I had to move to a foreign country with nothing to get me by. I had to rely on myself, and the lessons I learned from the parts of me I burned. To draw strength, not from the physical things that I held on to, but from what they symbolized. I believed myself to be a stronger person at that time for having thrown those letters away.
I have said goodbye to my things in the past. I had to. It was very difficult, but I already know it’s not impossible.
Once you put your mind to it, there’s nothing you can’t get rid of. And once you start tossing things out, you find yourself wanting to get rid of everything.
Haruki Murakami. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman: Man-Eating Cats