So there’s this closet in my apartment. It’s probably meant to be used for towels or cleaning supplies or spare batteries. But I use it to store things I don’t want to deal with.
What stares me in the face every time I open that closet door is every remnant of my last semester of college. For some reason, when I moved in, I decided to put all my textbooks, folders, and school work at eye level, and place things that are actually useful (cleaning supplies, traveling items, my one spare towel…) on less convenient shelves. I’ve just gotten used to looking at the college things and haven’t moved them.
Now that it’s been 10 months since I graduated college, I figure it’d be a good idea to sort through some of this stuff. The first documents I came across? The syllabi from two classes I took during my first semester at Potsdam. Keep.
I came across receipts from various adventures to Niagara Falls, Canada, and Lake Placid (keep).
I came across two full frequent visitor stamp cards from the billiards room on campus (keep).
I came across birthday cards. I came across the card that came with the flowers my mom sent me when she couldn’t make my first dance show at Potsdam. I came across postcards sent from various friends and family from all over the country (keep, keep, keep).
I’ve made the very mature decision to put all of this stuff back in the box I found it in and continue to not deal with it. Because I’m a grown up living by myself, and I’m allowed to pout if I want to do so.
Who knows if keeping all of these memories is healthy or not? Sure, you might agree that the card from my mom is worth hanging on to, but I have 10+ receipts from the college store, each for a single can of Red Bull. No, I don’t want to throw those out, thank you very much. Red Bull was a very iconic part of my college existence, and my great great grandchildren need to know that.
That closet isn’t the worst part of my tendency to cling onto memories. Since I moved to Montgomery, there is one thing from my car that I still have yet to remove from my trunk: the snow boots that entered my life for the sole purpose of living in Potsdam.
I can’t touch them; I don’t know why. They’re a critical part of Mrs. Potss’ trunk now; her frame is starting to graft onto them.
I didn’t unpack them originally out of laziness. I figured I’d get them when I needed them. Guess what? I moved from a snow globe to a sauna, and the South doesn’t know what the snow looks like. Who knew? One week turned to a month, and one month turned into ten, and the shoes never got removed from my trunk.
I’m surrounded by all of these remnants of my two years of college life and I can’t help but reflect on how utterly ridiculous those years were. Life in the upper Northeast and life in the Deep South couldn’t be more different. And this chapter of my life is two months shy of closing here in Montgomery, Alabama. Potsdam gets further away each day.
Dealing with all of this paperwork and all these textbooks feels like digging through a deceased loved one’s things. It is hard. That chapter is over, and I don’t get it back.
But making the move from Potsdam to Montgomery was not only one of the toughest things I’ve done, but also one of the best.
Tonight I will put all of these receipts, cards, and other paperwork back in their box, which will go back in my closet. None of it will get thrown away (not even any of the dozen or so Red Bull receipts). I will sort through it another day.