One of the weirdest things about this summer is the process of removing myself from where I used to be.  Over the weekend, I went home and hung around to help my mom out post-surgery, and spent most of the time she was sleeping getting rid of stuff from my old room.  There is (was, but there still is, too) a lot of stuff there — accumulations of things I used to think were important, accumulations of memories, from middle school right up until the summer after high school graduation.  I can’t tell you how strange it is to read reflections on stuff I still think about from 16 year old me, because I knew so much less then.  But the difference between who I was then and who I am now is complicated and compound: it can’t just be reduced to school or better taste in music or actually being deeply in love with someone or nearly getting killed or solo road trips to Pittsburgh.  I guess it isn’t surprising but it was a great reminder that even when we feel stagnant we are always in motion — it’s part of how we are in the world.

Maybe I made a mistake purging so many relics of who I was from my life.  At the same time, I’m a little embarrassed, intellectually and personally, at some of the stuff I wrote.  I suppose that’s natural.  Yet more than most people I know, I have re-made myself in the past four years.  I barely recognize photographs of myself in high school.  And I do need to get rid of things, because I’m going to be moving a significant ways away, become truly financially independent, and, if I want, drop off the face of the earth for a while.

Sometimes I do want to forget what it was like when I was younger, sadder, and more confused.  At the same time it’s a bit like looking in a weird mirror.  I’m not a very sentimental person — I used to want to keep everything, but I can’t keep anything, and I’d rather remember it, I guess.  I hardly keep anything anymore.  Maybe I’ll regret it in twenty or thirty years, but at least I won’t need a whole truck to move.

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