When Purging Hurts

Everybody who has ever attempted to downsize, who got into a full-blown purging frenzy because s/he couldn’t take that feeling of stuffocation anymore, knows that you will reach a point when purging gets tough. Unbearably painful to do. Usually, this happens when you get to the attic or basement, when you get to the boxes stuffed with memorabilia from the past. For me it happens each time I go through my uni paperwork. My folders full of lecture transcripts, seminar notes, copies of charters, timelines and family-trees. Uni was probably the best time of my life (or at least so far) and until problems at home started to have a negative impact on me and my concentration, I was a relatively good and organised student – never the toadying kind though.

The state of my folders, thus, mirrors the different states of mind I had during my time at uni. My early files and notes from my B.A. years are organised, complete – almost meticulous. Mid-Master the state of my papers deteriorates, like my mental state, highlighting a series of unfinished courses. I loved uni and was convinced that I would go from student to teacher to lecturer – basically from paying student to paid student – and I never imagined that I would leave the university let alone unfinished.

Going through my files now, purging like a maniac, hurts twice: it makes me relive the most painful time of my life (my mum’s cancer and death) and shows me how quickly dreams can die. I know I can still pick up and finish my studies or that nobody is ever too old to go back to uni and study something one is interested in, I am young enough to go back and change my career but let’s be frank, it gets harder and harder with each year away. I have to redefine, rewrite my dreams for my future. I have to accept that it didn’t pen out the way I imagined it to ten years ago. I have to let go to move forward like I have to let go to make room, to be able to breathe.

Considering how much it hurts to go through my uni papers (many of them were on topics and courses I wasn’t even interested in), I don’t even want to know how much it will hurt when I get to my boxes of keepsakes. I do not intend to be radical and get rid of everything – definitely not! – but I do know that I kept too much stuff like concert or cinema tickets etc that I need to discard to make room for other more important things.


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