Got a box full of letters,
Think you might like to read.
Some things that you might like to see,
But they’re all addressed to me.
– Wilco, Box Full of Letters
All this week I have been on vacation, and the days have been filled with finding staycation things for the family to do coupled with several projects I have long needed to get done around the house.
I came across a box yesterday while working in the garage. It was not just any old box; it was the box. It was a box full of letters from an old relationship, which was a painful one that didn’t end well. I had forgotten it even existed until I started this minimalism journey. I went looking for it at the end of May, but didn’t find it. Then, while I was packing up for a family camping trip, there it was.
When I first went looking for it last month, my purpose was to throw it out the night before trash day so that it wouldn’t be “discovered.” It’s not that I was ashamed of it, and I wasn’t really hiding it. I simply didn’t want to answer any questions about it.
So what did I do? I told my wife about it anyway.
It led to a good discussion about it, past relationships, and the pain of being with the wrong person. She asked me why I had kept it. Was I over her?
Yes, I was long over her. I then explained that I had given it some thought and came up with the only honest answer I could: I kept the box all these years because it came at such a great cost.
And so, when I found it yesterday, I got excited. I was ready to get rid of it, and I knew just how to do it. I packed it up when our camping supplies, and when it was time to make supper last night, we used it to light the fire. We made brats and hot dogs, with a savory hint of printer ink and old tears.
I will admit that my sentimentality could have tripped me up. I almost looked them over once more as a final review of the evidence. I didn’t. I realized there was no need to rehash old pain. My heart isn’t broken any longer. I’m good.
I can only re-state my driver with minimalism: If something no longer adds value to my life, it needs to go. That box and its contents certainly had no value to me anymore, and so, I have one less box in my life.
Things are good.