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Wheel of Fortune

2014 January 31




Right now, I should be packing. The movers are scheduled to arrive in less than 24 hours and my things remain hanging in the closet, folded in drawers, tucked away in kitchen cabinets. Much of this is due to the fact that I’ve scheduled myself to the hilt this past week, trying to make the most of my time here in the city with my friends. And I don’t regret that. And I do better with a deadline anyway–today is the day I need to get going and pack everything up, and it will get done. But it’s still a little bit overwhelming.

I started the packing process a few weeks ago, trying to organize things, get rid of things I no longer needed or wanted. It proved to be a much more emotionally-fraught process than I had anticipated. Moving is always a fraught process–it forces you to take stock of your life, your belongings in a way that nothing else does. You need to make decisions–what to keep, what to throw away, what to leave behind. We’ve all done it. But this time is different. This time it’s the separation of things–mine, his, ours–and facing the objects that we built our life with. It seemed that every drawer I opened or shelf I cleaned contained some new reminder of everything I’ve lost–the cork from the bottle of champagne we got the first night of our honeymoon, a stack of wedding invitations, letters we exchanged when we lived in different cities, ticket stubs from concerts on the waterfront.

What do you do with all the things that represent your memories, the memories of a life you loved but have lost? Do you keep them, stow them away in a box at the back of a closet somewhere to be dealt with the next time you move? Do you throw them in the trash? It’s a legitimate question. Some people have recommended getting rid of everything, starting fresh. But I’m not that kind of person. I’m the kind of person who has shoeboxes full of notes from friends written during high school English class, movie ticket stubs, every birthday card I’ve ever gotten. To me, these scraps of things that would mean nothing to any other person are the texture that make up a life. And to get rid of these things would mean disowning those experiences, in a way. And though it’s painful, I don’t want to disown everything that’s happened to me. So I took one of our wedding invitations, the stack of our letters, other little scraps of our life and tucked them into a shoebox with everything else I’ve kept this year–other wedding invitations, thank you cards, play programs. And I packed that shoebox into a bigger box, taped it up, and stacked it with the few others I’ve packed.

A couple of nights ago, a friend of mine came over to read my tarot cards. The cards said a lot of things I won’t bore you with, but one card I got was the wheel of fortune card. When I got that, my friend’s eyes lit up and she said it was one of the best cards to get because it represents the unexpected, all kinds of good adventures and future joy. And I don’t think I needed a tarot card to tell me that good things await me in Boston, but it was still nice to hear. It gives me something to look forward to. And while I also got a card that showed a person walking away, leaving everything behind, I know that what I choose to bring with me from this city, these years, will only make me stronger.

So I’m signing off from New York, but I’ll be updating from Boston soon. Have a good weekend, all!



*image via The Tarot Teaclub

8 Responses Post a comment
  1. Rebekah permalink
    January 31, 2014

    I am glad you kept some things.

  2. January 31, 2014

    I think it’s good to hang on to some of these things as reminders of happy times in your life (as long as they don’t end up taking up too much space–I’ve watched way too many episodes of Hoarding: Buried Alive). I hope the future brings you much happiness, and good luck in Boston!


  3. Emily permalink
    January 31, 2014

    We should never be disrespectful of our past – the good and the bad – because it’s all a part of the journey that made us who we are. Good for you for keeping some things, but keep them in the boxes.

  4. Lauren S permalink
    January 31, 2014

    Seems pretty reasonable to me. That box’s contents will give you so many unexpected but welcome emotions years down the road. It is all a part of you.

    Good luck this weekend!

  5. January 31, 2014

    Thinking of you with the upcoming move! Good luck with the packing (AND unpacking!)

    I too think it’s smart to keep things….just like you said, those things – good and bad – make up the thread of who you are.

    Sending good move vibes!

  6. Mike permalink
    February 2, 2014

    Jill, I’m going to miss you! This blog post reminded me instantly of this song. I’ll see you soon in Boston. Here’s to you. : )

  7. Raquel permalink
    February 3, 2014

    I think keeping some things is wise–I always do. Especially when emotions are fresh. And then sometimes, in the future, I’m glad I held on to them because the emotions have changed or mellowed over time and I can look at and appreciate the items differently. And other times in the future, I can throw things away without a second thought because the emotions have changed, I no longer feel anything for or about the stuff I’ve saved, and I feel perfectly fine getting rid of it. But I have to do it in my own due time. You can’t force feelings to do what they’re not ready to do.

    The Wheel of Fortune card sounds pretty fantastic! :)

  8. nancy permalink
    February 3, 2014

    great post. you handled the move with gteat dignity and grace. your new place is awesome as will be your new adventure in boston. love ya!

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