The other day I opened a box full of memories.
I’ve been having a big clearout recently, inspired by Marie Kondo’s ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying‘. Even though I’ve moved a lot in my life (twenty-four times at last count), clutter still tends to accumulate, especially when you have children.
So into cupboards I went, discarding clothing and dishes with abandon. Then I found this box. I should mention that I love trinket boxes and have quite a collection of them – this was one of the more unusual additions. I was about to put it back in the cupboard, when I decided to open it and look inside.
And I found treasure.
A photo of me with a friend from Grade Nine. My University Library Card. A note from my brother, over twenty years old. A birthday badge saying ‘I am 24.’ A flower which I think is from my parent’s wedding cake. A necklace I remember playing with as a child, several stones missing. A small velvet bag, full of buttons. A book of matches from the CN Tower, ‘Top of Toronto.’
All things that, at one time, were part of me.
As mentioned, I’ve moved a lot, with several of those moves being across oceans. And each time I moved, I had to discard bits of myself. Make adjustments. For many years I tried to ‘fit in,’ wanting a sense of belonging that always, despite dear friends and family, seemed just beyond reach. For a while I almost lost myself completely, but I found the road back to discover, like my old friend Dorothy, that home was inside me all along, and all the things I’d experienced were what made me who I am.
So finding this box at the turning of the year felt particularly poignant. It’s a time when I look both to the past and the future, gathering all that I am and all that I have been to carry into the new year. And this box, with its small collection of trinkets, reminded me that, even though I’ve moved through time and space, I don’t always have to look far to find myself.
Sometimes, all I need to do is open a box.