My life – neatly preserved with obsolete technology. Is it Junk? Or are they precious keepsakes?

My back is still aching and I’ve been having trouble bending over. My parents are preparing to sell their house, so I have been helping to clear out the junk, much of which I left behind after moving out 15 years ago. Anyway, you’re probably thinking that I forgot to bend my knees when I picked up the heavy items.  Actually no, I didn’t forget to do that.  I was particularly careful about lifting with my legs.

What I did manage to forget, as I picked up boxes filled with encyclopedias, was that I am no longer 20 years old. And, this whole business about selling the house has been a startling reminder that I am getting older.

Putting my childhood on Kijiji

As someone who is, to say the least, a bit out of shape, I am in no position to be picking up boxes of encyclopedias.  And, the fact that we are, just now, getting rid of these research tools that were invaluable to me 30 years ago, tells you a lot about how much work there is to get this house ready for sale.

Truthfully though, it isn’t the physical aspect of moving the furniture or boxes that stresses me out. And, it isn’t the amount of junk we have accumulated. It is the emotional strain of having to give away years of dreams and memories.

Be bold like Stevie Nicks

On the first morning I went over to help my parents, I started clearing out the VHS tapes. While I was scanning the various cassettes to determine which to recycle (Nutty Professor) and which ones I need to convert to digital (Tina’s 12th birthday party), I heard Cameron Diaz talking about aging (my 89-year old grandmother was watching Good Morning America). And I thought to myself, “Oh. My. Goodness. Even Cameron Diaz is afraid.” Well actually, she was talking about NOT being afraid to age and learning about the aging process from a cellular level…yeah yeah, sure Cameron.

Anyway, I was feeling overwhelmed. My grandmother, who, in her prime would have had an assembly line going, filling boxes and spinning her tape gun into position, was simply observing. She was pretending to watch tv. Really, she was afraid.

A small sampling of the cassettes, slides and photos I need to review and digitize. Notice the VHS tape labelled “Y2K” – LOL…my dad was afraid.

I think we were all a little nervous. Three generations in the house on that particular day – my grandmother, my parents and me –  throwing away our possessions. It was time to move on.

I drove home and playing on the radio was the 1976 Fleetwood Mac song Landslide.

…Well, I’ve been afraid of changing
‘Cause I’ve built my life around you
But time made you bolder
Even children get older
And I’m getting older too…

Tears welled in my eyes.

“I get to turn a year older,” said Ms. Diaz.

I’m not really that devastated. I just cry very easily. Besides, life is good.  I have a family of my own now. We have our own house and are making great memories, which really means, we are collecting our own junk, too.

I’m also a lot smarter than I was in my 20s. Wiser. More confident.  Less worried about what people think.  And, even though I have dark circles under my eyes and am a bit thicker around the mid section, I actually think I look better than I did back then. My eyebrows are shaped. They weren’t back then.

Our memories and the dreams that keep us excited in this wondrous, challenging life are not in the things that we own. They are forever embedded in our hearts.

As the wise Cameron Diaz says in her new book, “aging is about living.”

And, I plan to age well.