I used to like clutter. I was a collector who hated throwing things away and then in my middle 20s, that changed. Feng shui was hot and I read a book by Karen Kingston about creating Sacred Space in your home. I didn’t get past the de-clutter chapter — Chapter 3 I believe — and ever since then I’ve developed a zeal for throwing things out. I like open space. It makes me feel creative. I'm conscious about what I keep and what I don’t and have fostered a belief that it's important to throw out what I don’t want in my life, to make space for the things that I do.
Just before New Year's, Kit Cole contributed an article about cleaning your closet and changing your life. Kit suggests you set an intention before you start to clean and ever since then, I’ve been eyeing a corner of my living room where the wall is set back with what looks like a kitchen counter and cabinets. It's a weird 1970s, Florida-style architecture thing and I used shelves to make the space flush with the two adjacent walls. However, once I saw this story about offices in closets, I decided to treat myself to one of my own.
I decided that as soon as I cleaned the space, I would be welcoming in a new level of excellence in my career. When I put up my shelves I decided they were "good enough" but now that I'm taking them down, I'm going for "gorgeous, inspiring, and exactly-what-I-want", not just in business, but in all areas of my life.
I’ve been sorting though magazines, old DVDs and paperwork since Friday. I can't let go of my cassette collection or my 45s -- Air Supply And Rick Astley live there -- or my LPs because I know Stevie Wonder will miss me. But for some reason, my journals are glaring at me.
I’ve been keeping a diary -- journal as of high school -- since I was a little girl. The first had a picture of a mime on it -- I was obsessed -- and a heart-shaped lock and key. I had no idea what to write in it but I loved it. The one with the little men all over it was all about finding love and the green with the embroidery was the one I used to plan out my t-shirt line. The ones I found wedged into the cabinet of my soon-to-be-office are less significant but they've got me wondering two things...
First, who is that girl I'm reading about in the pages and next, why am I holding on to her?
I used to think it was vital to keep these chronicles, that I would pass them onto my children. But even as my last egg screams for an opportunity, having kids is something I'm still on the fence about and even if I could squeeze one out, is this the “me” I would want them to see? And if I don't have them, who is going to read all this crap -- and when I say crap I mean the pages of drivel about boys I don't even remember!
If I were to suddenly become famous or to die tomorrow, would I want these pages to be the representation of the life that was mine? Would Virginia Wolf or Sylvia Plath be happy with the pages that were left behind?
I wonder if I was so determined to keep them because I was trying to piece it all together, the puzzle of me? I think I also kept them to prove to myself I would do the things I said I wanted to do. Now that I know myself, it's not often I look for answers in my journal's pages. I meditate and listen, it’s different. I also tell people what I think more. I work out issues in my creative work.
One of my good friends advised me to box them and put them in my storage locker but I'm imagining something as dramatic as the person who lived in those pages -- perhaps a burning ritual on the beach. What do you think? Should I box them or burn them?