If I had to pick a word to describe my life tonight, it would be “paper.” I filled six contractor-size Hefty bags full of it today and hauled them to the dump. That brings the total so far to nine bags. And I’m not done going through the Rubbermaid totes yet.
Why so much paper? Most of my life I created paper–writing and/or editing magazines, newspapers, brochures and the like. I kept everything I wrote after college, including scripts for video and internet projects. Seeing all that paper in various states of decay made me cry. Newsprint does not age gracefully.
I’d stashed away contest entries (Award of Excellence! Award of Merit!), kind letters from magazine readers and congratulations from my boss. Sorting through old 1980s head shots of myself, business cards and junk from my desk drawers, I had to chuckle.
Amid the professional clutter I found sweet little drawings from my son. He was four when his sister was born–right after I’d put the quarterly university mag to bed and finished editing a half-hour video for the local PBS affiliate. Two kids now, more paper, more totes.
Eight years ago I moved into this house. I parked my past, a dozen totes worth, in the garage. I became a bride again at 50 and the years sped by.
We now have memories of our own to cherish. I’ve finally created a life for myself, something sadly lacking in my writer days. My story is better than any I ever told.
That’s why I can toss the faded ink on yellow paper and move on. It’s 2015.