The blog entry that I share below was written for another blog of mine over five years ago. As I was reviewing this blog, I found it and felt that it was worth sharing – so here it is!
Unlocking the Future…
by throwing away keys to the past…
May 29, 2007
In the midst of all the craziness of this time in life, I have found moments of great reflection. I am currently packing up my office, filled with great memories from my first two years in my position with this school. The office signifies everything from helping scores of students, family and staff members, to freedom from a marriage that was full of so many disappointments for me. I am packing up the office, as the school is relocating to a larger facility about 15 km north of our current campus. It is a time of new beginnings.
At home I am packing up and clearing out my “guest room” which has become a storage room for many of the things I had no time to sift through as I quickly moved to our apartment two years ago.
I find that, in both locations, I am packing and sifting – deciding which “things” must stay and which must go – some things are harder to part with than others. The reality is that I am one of those people who is attached to “things” and their significance. Even if I don’t look at a “thing” for years – when I remember who gave it to me, or the sentimental attachments, it is often hard for me to part with it. Some “things” I keep because I feel I have to keep them – and other things I keep because I have kept them for so long already, how could I throw them out now????
Can you relate?
As I was sifting through items in this spare room I came across two old key chains, full of keys. I knew what some of the keys opened – the office of my advisor at the University I went to (I did some work for her when I was there), another set was to a church where I ran a youth program, one set opened the offices of an HIV Education program I worked for, still another set (I think) opened my parents home, that I have not lived in since I was 18…..
All these keys, none of them in use, yet I still held on to them. And it occurred to me, as much as we use keys to open doors – and move on, we can also use keys to lock things away and hold on to our past. What I realized is that, at times, we hold on to the keys that link us to our past, and these links are not healthy for us. When we have the courage to throw away the old keys and seek new ones, we are allowing ourselves the freedom to create new pathways for ourselves.
I threw away the keys. And then I kept throwing – wedding cards (after all, it ended in divorce), letters from old boy and girlfriends, books from university, knick knacks (some tacky and ugly) given to me by friends, but hidden away because they look hideous…….
When we keep these things, the guilt and attachment cause us to hold on – we believe that getting rid of them will bring pain – but, what if throwing these things out does not cause pain, but provides us with freedom?
Throwing away unnecessary ties to the past gives us the opportunity to continue to walk today, and towards our future.
Today, 143 days ’til 40, I am reminded that by clearing out things from our past we can often free ourselves towards movement towards our future.