Friday, January 16, 2015

The Purge


Retirement is a good time to review the lifetime accumulation of stuff one's collected.  So my wife and I have been doing that.  We've been pulling boxes out of closets where they've sat for a couple decades; gone through old pictures, keepsakes, souvenirs and papers; and made the call whether to continue saving it for our golden years.

For example, check out the napkin in the picture.  It's from our wedding almost 35 years ago and we had a box of these napkins, unused.   Chances are we're not going to repeat our vows and throw ourselves another reception.  So we're using them right now in place of our everyday napkins.

It's amazing how much paper one can collect if not careful.  We filled our 200-gallon recycle bin with reams of old documents, magazines and personal papers.  Anything that had to do with work and employment, I purged.  There were old resumes, tips on  interviewing, important documents pertaining to my job and application for job transfers with carbon paper still attached which tells you how old those must have been (does anyone use carbon paper anymore?).

As I went through decades of collected paraphernalia I could see my life in various stages.  There was; my chess-playing phase with Chess Life magazines, game notations, even a 30-year-old post card from my old chess-playing college chum with whom I'd played a few correspondence games after we'd graduated.  He explained with his post card that not only did it include his latest moves, it doubled as a Christmas card since it was written in green ink.  I kept that.

There were also coaching notes from my days helping out my kids' soccer teams, boxing magazines and ticket stubs from days when I was a big fan of the sport and the same with youth wrestling.  Some stuff I kept; some I threw away.  Of course, there was some stuff that didn't jog my memory at all--newspaper clippings, magazine articles, notes of various sorts.  Those were easy to pitch.

All the while I was purging, Wendy was doing the same.  Her old handmade wedding dress went to charity, along with her handmade bridesmaid's dress, nearly as old. Lots of old clothes.  She also put aside one of her two turkey roasters.  It's an event when we cook just one turkey and we've never cooked two simultaneously.

We've been at it for almost a week though we've also been cleaning and re-organizing as well.  But the purge continues since we haven't touched the volumes of books, magazines and photos that also have accumulated throughout the years.  And after we finish with the basement where most of this stuff has been stored, there's the garage attic too.  Somewhere up there I even have a time capsule squirreled away, something I bought in the year 2000.

That I can't open until at least 2020.  So that will have to stay, I guess, until the next purge.