I'm not a particularly sentimental person. I try to not look backward too much because dwelling in the past has often been the root of so many issues I've had in life. Arguably, both my and my ex-hubby's tendency to dwell backwards was likely the root cause of our divorce (amongst MANY other things). So, last year, when I was culling through my "stuff", I came across my memory box. A giant Rubbermaid bin of clippings and journals and tchotkes of my past that I simply could not let go of (well - aside from the little box in that bin that held the things from my ex, that is). It made me think about why a non-sentimental person like myself has such a huge bin of schtuff that I never look at.
Am I holding onto it so I can one day share them with my kids and show them the things I did when I was young?
Am I holding onto it thinking that when I die, it will be a nice place for people to look into and see what I held dear?
Am I holding onto it all because I am just afraid to let it go?
I still don't have the answer. The reality, however, is that that rubbermaid bin could be put to much better use than to hold a bunch of scrap paper.
That is when I realized it...I could keep the stuff without actually having to KEEP the stuff. Duh - we live in a digital world. Our music is digital. Our books are digital. Our movies are digital. Why can't a memory box be digital?
For over a year, I have kept our family photo album on a Shutterfly share site. It serves as a place to share our photos with our family and friends, as well as to be a backup of our photos in case anything happens to our computers. I find great peace of mind in this and our families love that they have instant access to all of the latest photos of the girlies. Since it is free to set up a Shutterfly share site - I went right in and created a second one for myself called "Cori's Memory Box". It's going to take me a while to do it, but my intention is to scan all of those strips of paper in that memory box and then file it into my new virtual memory box.
Honestly - I think it's a better solution than the Rubbermaid bin.
My decision to do this reminded me of a conversation that I had with my sister-in-law a few years ago. She was struggling with the overwhelming amount of clutter that comes with 4 kids. She told me how she has bins to put each kids school work in and she wanted to cull through them, but so much of it felt like something that should be kept for them to see one day. I told her quite simply that the kids likely won't care about each little piece of paper she kept and it was taking up valuable real estate in their home. Why not scan everything and store it all digitally - then she doesn't have to throw anything out...it can all be kept for them and would take up next to no space in their house. She thought it was an amazing idea (though I seriously doubt she ever went anywhere with it - she does have 4 kids, after all).
Perhaps this should serve as a preemptive lesson to me. Maybe my kids need their own virtual memory boxes where I can start to store everything for them now. Once it was set up, I'd just need to add the new thing in as it is created or as the memory is made. They may not care about the scribble they made when they were two, when they are 12...but right now they are darn proud of that scribble and I can only keep it on the fridge for so long. Plus - by involving them from a very young age - they might actually embrace the process and not be stuck with giant rubbermaids of their own one day.
Off to Shutterfly now to make a couple extra share sites!