Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Throwing My Life Away

Last week, I began undertaking the task of scanning in every photo in my scrapbooks and storing them digitally on removable drives.  Just photos, not cards or ticket stubs or receipts or all the other accumulated stuff one (read:me) puts in a scrapbook.  And I've decided to only scan photos of people, not pictures of places I've visited because very similar shots can easily be found online these days.

It's a bit of a time-consuming project, so now might be the only chance I have to do this.  The scanning itself isn't necessarily what takes time - it's the recollections:  studying each photo, gingerly prying it out of the sticky glue-hands of the pages, reading each card, fondly recalling each movie from its stub or each play from its program.  It's amazing the memories I have amassed through these books.  And it's not easy to part with them.  My first scrapbook began in 1985 - it's one of my oldest possessions.

I've gone through life  not really collecting things or hoarding items.  Since about '85, if an item didn't fit into the scrapbook, I didn't keep it.  About 10 years ago, I bought a muck box from IKEA in which to store life's important papers like tax stuff, passport, and medical records (Kevin has dubbed it "The Cube of Importance").  I guess my next goal will be to go through that and scan those items as well.  I like the idea of being paperless, be it copy paper or photo paper.

Still, there are emotions involved in this process, some I didn't expect.  It's one thing to see an old picture of yourself, it's quite another to theoretically walk back through your life year after year and relive memories, see old dear faces, and read words from someone that - at the time - were so heartfelt, but now are completely forgotten.

When the time comes, it will be hard for me to put the scrapbooks in a bag and launch them down the trash chute.  In part, I will feel a bit cleansed of clutter, but another part of me can't help feeling that despite all my care to make sure I've scanned every photo, I will be, quite literally, throwing my life away.