That Damn Box

OK, this post is a bit personal. I’ll understand if you skip it and just wait for the next one. But, after all, this is my blog, so some of it will inevitably be personal.

It seems that self-analysis has been a part of my life for a long time. That observation rang true very loudly a few days ago because of what I found in ‘the box.’

The container I’m referring to is a box where I keep notes, journals, poetry, letters and other assorted mementoes from my past. I dug deeper into the box that I usually do when I go “past surfing” and discovered notes and letters from my twenties that I haven’t seen in a long time.

Here is some of what I learned about me that day:

-I have always been a dreamer. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t and the contents of ‘the box’ prove it.

-Learning from the past has been a personal theme for a long time. Apparently I keep relearning things too. In other words, I haven’t always learned from my past.

-I write more when I’m troubled than when I feel good.

-I am self-analytical and write about it a lot and have been doing that since high school.

-I found two letters written a few years apart, each to a different old girlfriend, each beginning with the words “you’ll probably never see this letter but I’m writing it anyway because this helps me think things through.” I don’t remember writing either letter. But I am certain neither of the girlfriends saw the letters. I was also shocked at the depth of my feeling for each; it seems I had blocked that out of my memory a long time ago.

-For a long time I have believed that one role I have in life is to help people feel good about themselves. If I really do have that ability, I am grateful for it. What I also realize from the writings in the box is that I have been that kind of enabler several times and after they are fully enabled, they’re usually gone. I don’t seem to have many friends who enable me.

-I also found a “Dear Bernie” letter. It may just be the most beautiful ‘we can’t see each other any more’ letter ever written. I helped enable her to move on in her life and she was thanking me for it. She said the reason we had to stop seeing each other completely is because right from the start we were never ‘just friends’ and she didn’t think we could ever be ‘just friends.’ She was telling me this as she was going back to her husband.

I read things in that box with mixed feelings. On one hand, I learn about myself from what I read, learn about past mistakes and repeated mistakes, learn about good things I’ve done for myself and other people, learn to feel pretty good about myself. On the other hand, I am trying this year to learn to live in the present and sometimes time travel is bittersweet.

The key word in all this is ‘learning.’ That is part of who I am and no matter how much I may live ‘in the moment’ I will always reference the past. I’m fine as long as I don’t live there. I’m fine as long as I only open that damn box a couple of times a year.