This weekend, I finally finished unpacking. Yes, you read that right. Unpacking all the stuff that I moved out of my dorm room in May. Ironically enough on the same day that one of my good friends moved into that very same room to start her year as an RA.
It’s safe to say that it’s taken me a bit too long to get this done. Just ask my mother, who didn’t appreciate the piles of crap in our basement.
Hopefully none of you can relate to my pack-rat issues…the things I found in the box filled with the contents of my desk drawers…ticket stubs, pencils without erasers, internet setup instructions from my freshmen year.
But I guess I let the unpacking go on for so long out of an attachment to the past. And uncertainty about the future.
If I unpacked those boxes, I really had graduated, moved on. I really had to face the next, uncertain, chapter of my life. I felt like those boxes were silently asking me questions.
- If I unpack this stuff, does that mean that I am staying home for good?
- Do I even want to leave home?
- What am I going to do with my life, where ever that may be?
- Or the more practical question of where the heck to fit all this stuff I was unpacking? (Don’t worry, I was able to part with some of it. Ok, I actually had no choice. There wasn’t enough room in my closet.)
All these questions led to a full-scale cleaning and purging of my room. Nothing distracts me like a good cleaning spree. It’s always been a good stress reliever for me; my dorm room was never cleaner than when I had a paper due the next day (I call it productive procrastination!).
My cleaning spree was a nice walk down memory lane (finding the novel I started-and never finished-in elementary school), but it also could have passed for an episode of Hoarders (why did I keep copies of all my college applications? Why?).
In unpacking and then saving memories of my college years, I also had to unpack and sort through my childhood (or else there wouldn’t have been space for the new stuff!). I chose bits and pieces of the past to hang on to, stowed in desk drawers or in boxes, to find someday in the future, and hopefully to bring a smile to my face when I do.
My room did look spotless by the time I was done with it. But I had no more answers than when I started out. I still didn’t know where I wanted to be, or what exactly I was supposed to be doing.
But I did have a room full of happy memories, and maybe there is a lesson in that.
There was a lot of stuff that I had accumulated over the years, all remnants of events, people, places, and things that had shaped me into who I am. And all that stuff reminded me that even though college was over, it was still a part of me, a part of the person I’d become.
And it was kind of reassuring to go through a timeline of my life, of sorts, and see that it just kept getting better with time. I’m hoping the trend continues.