Alphabet Series - R is for Relationships
I suppose having written three books with the word Relationship in the title you might think I was going to write about inter/intra personal relationships and what we can do to improve them. I am going to kinda write about that, but from a different angle. I want to write about the meaning of the pictures we have displayed around our homes and the ones we post on social media.
This is a picture I keep on the bookcase in my office. I took this picture at a birthday party I had some years ago. I asked my friends to put on assorted party hats that I would break out again when we gathered on New Year's Eve. While having my friends mostly wave to me for this photo, I also filmed a bit of their antics which I put into a home movie I would be showing them on New Year's Eve when, most likely, they would be wearing the hats again. You can also see that while the picture rests against some books it is also fronted by some of my childhood toys. The toys, the books, and the picture hold memories for me. Happy memories.
Most days of the year I spend some time in my office. I both see and don't see the picture, the books and the toys. Certainly I look around my room and take in its essences, but I have to stop and remind myself to slow down, gently scan the room and take in the pleasures of the memories I have surrounding me. Some days I do that in about 10 seconds and other days I dwell in my recollections. I have not been one to dwell on the past, and I don't consider that I dwell there much now. But, I do dwell more than I ever have. I take a certain comfort and joy in connecting with my history. I know many of us have painful memories that we also memorialize both internally and externally. I have some of those around as well, but my decorations tend to lean towards the positive.
I don't play anymore with the toys in the picture. I have read the books and I no longer live in the house where the picture was taken. Pictures capture a moment in time. I once heard someone say that they didn't like photographs because one tended to remember the picture and not the event. I believe that to be true, yet I also believe the picture can be a catalyst for memory. I have a hunch/fear that if I didn't have my collection I might not recapture some of my old memories. But, to be truthful, as I continue to age I find old memories popping up more and more in my dreams. I don't know if that is a bit of my life flashing before me as I move toward the exit or if I have unconsciously invited my memory bank to open up some of its accounts.
I have told my daughter I would let go of some of my collections because I know it will not be a labor of love when she has to do it. It was an emotional rollercoaster for me as well as an arduous task with my parents leftovers. Yet it aided in the mourning process. I am going to begin that mourning process by saying goodbye to some of the reminders that decorate my home. The books are due for a good trimming, I think these two Dinky toys will be leaving (but others might be staying) and I will let my daughter decide what to do with the pictures.
We all have relationships with people, places and things. For the most part my keepsakes are not very demanding and don't complain if I am not attentive. They are not the most engaging, but they can be. They provide warmth and a sense of time and place. I have my past and present around me. And yet, these belongings while inclusive of my daughter, are not all of particular interest to her. So, as a favor to her and possibly me, I will edit them down to a slightly more bearable number for when she inherits them and has to decide what to do with them. Better me than her for most of it.
(PS - I just rain across this article Time magazine about nostalgia and your mental health that might be of interest.)