I'm not much of a writer anymore, but here we go with a journal.
Fathertymme's recent post "Three Score and Ten + Day 167" got me thinking about how we package and put away our memories. I'm getting old and have experienced a lot of things. He was talking about how hard it would be to put 2020 into a box, and oh holy smokes yeah, that's so very true. But he also got me thinking about how memory is the least equal of places.
What if we could put every year of our life into a box? Honestly, we remember very little. And the things I remember best are probably those memories I'm most actively trying to avoid. It's impossible to Kon-mari life. Memories are more likely to haunt than to spark joy. But we do end up stacking those memories in boxes, year by year, age by age. We have some power to arrange.
There would be one locked box for life before five, and sides that obscured 99% of what's inside. The little tiny bit visible would be precious.
Each elementary school year would come in a flat box, sparse but sparkly. Reading Cricket in Times Square! My neighbor Julie skipping into my third grade class and helping me understand how to play the game and give teachers what they want! Learning violin! Alexander Lindsay Junior Museum!
The boxes between ages twelve and seventeen would look sort of like broken pizza boxes with nothing left but oily cardboard and disgusting bits of burnt crust.
Age nineteen through twenties boxes would be wet and not able to keep their sides squared. Something yeasty brewing in there.
Around the age of thirty, the years started packaging themselves in proper file boxes. While I remember little about my own childhood and have never known much of anything about my parents' marriage, I could write an encyclopedia about my own marriage and children.
The year my husband died would be one of those tidy file boxes with an elephant sitting on it and crushing it to smithereens.
Since then, the boxes have been less about me and more about themselves. 2013 may have been a box full of meaningless trinkets, and 2018 was full of grievances. But if maturity has given me anything, it's been the ability to look at the box from outside, rather than feeling trapped in it with no way to get out.
I'm afraid 2020 is a box that will sit precariously on all our shelves, mine included. It's shaped all wrong and looks unrealistically heavy, like something that might someday throw itself down on our future heads.