Recently I've come across several articles giving the advice to get rid of unnecessary things, claiming that in such a way one can free the mind and, thus, get more productive. I decided to follow this advice and began by looking at the things I've had in my apartment. There were quite a lot of them lying in the dust as if asked to be thrown away. So, I decided to devote several hours a day to clean my apartment of the garbage. I do believe that cleaning a mess makes your thoughts and work more organized. And so I started.
I opened the sofa and began pulling out my old notebooks from the time when I was a student. The title said: "History of the English language." I suddenly remembered how I didn't learn all old English adjectives once and started making some. Everyone was laughing. I didn't get the best grade for that seminar, but it was really funny. I was nineteen, so young and full of future expectations. I've decided to keep that notebook, just in case I would need it.
Then I found teddy bear given as a present by my father. Only he knows how much I like teddy bears, even though I am not a child anymore. Afterwards, I turned my sight into the wardrobe with clothes. "It is very unlikely that I would wear this dress again," I thought. But suddenly my date became so alive. I wore that dress and he was so polite and attentive; we were watching a comedy at the cinema, walking in the park together, sharing our plans and dreams. It has disappeared so long ago, and I was about to throw all those things away, but I simply couldn't. Those things were once part of my life and those memories were so alive when I looked at that, at first sight, useless stuff. "Am I just not ready to let memories go and move forward? Am I too sentimental?" I asked myself.
I went to another room. There I found some old jeans and would throw them away immediately. I didn't even remember when I was wearing them. Some notes from my previous job, unused paper, a broken toy - I threw them all without the slightest hesitation. That stuff was of no value for me. So what made some things so precious for me? Why wouldn't I just throw everything away? And then I suddenly realized that some of my possessions were not just old unnecessary things. They had symbolic meaning bringing certain emotions from the past and contributing to the present.
Then I opened a drawer and found my childish photos. One of them was made in the kindergarten during the times when my home country was part of the USSR. I looked at it carefully (luckily it wasn't thrown away), remembered certain moments from that time and suddenly had an idea of creating a photo essay using that picture and clearly realizing that we can't simply throw away the past. These are the memories that count, memories that make life valuable, memories that influence our presence.
I wasn't blaming myself anymore for not being able to follow the advice of throwing things away to unclutter my mind. On the contrary, I started looking for more stuff that would remind me of valuable moments in my life as those moments have shaped me as a personality and gave me an unforgettable experience. Therefore, now I more than ever value each moment and each present I am given as it provokes positive emotions and will always remind me of that precious time. I even started caring much more what present I give to my close ones, as I know that it is not the present itself that counts, but the symbolic meaning and memories it will always bring. That's why I would rarely give flowers and don't like receiving them much because they fade away too fast. I would rather give something that will last for a long time, like an eternity rose, a flower that will always be in a vase to bring special memories, be it graduation, wedding anniversary or a simple acknowledgement of friendship or love.
Quite often things we give to others and receive ourselves acquire symbolic meaning and help us look back at the most important days in our lives. Our memories and belongings associated with them are important and I doubt whether we need to throw them away so easily. As Marcus Cicero rightfully puts it "Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things".