Out With “The Old?”
There is no doubting that in our lives, time passes, things change, people come and go from our lives. On my computer, my screensaver is a constantly changing round of all of the photos stored on my computer. I have never gone in and purged photos from the years past, so, undoubtedly, photos from past relationships show up, my children’s past relationships, sometimes family or friends who are no longer with us, or aren’t any longer a part of my life. My daughter has expressed shock that a picture of an old boyfriend of hers will pop up on my screen. “Mom, why do you still have THAT on your computer?” I’m sure there has been the occasional time my man has walked past my computer to see a picture pop up of me with one of my ex’s.
You may wonder why I don’t “purge” those photos from my computer. Time. Or lack of it may be one reason. However, even if I had the time to go through dozens of files of photos to take out those from past relationships, I probably wouldn’t do it.
Memories of Days Gone By
Each and every one of those photos are a part of me. Although a breakup happened, those photos typically represent a small snapshot of time, a time that I was enjoying the day, the person, the event. To purge those photos would be purging a happy memory. While a relationship, in “the whole” might not have worked, the day at the beach was a good one. The family trip may have been a special one. The wedding we attended was a beautiful day for the couple involved, even if that couple’s relationship- or mine- may not still be intact.
Seeing those pictures from years past often give me a brief spark of memory of what redeeming quality I did see in that person at the time, and make the “mistake” of the relationship a little less piercing.
And if you know me, you know I’m a bit vain, so seeing myself as I looked a few years back is a fun kick in the pants too! “Damn, I looked pretty darned good at that family party, I must say!” “What was I thinking wearing that Christmas sweater?” “Look how young the kids were there!” “That was such a fun vacation! I remember that we did (this or that) on that trip!”
Traces of Love… And Friends No Longer With Us
If you are old enough, you may remember the song, “Traces of Love”, which had the lines, “faded photographs, covered now with lines and creases, tickets torn in half, memories in bits and pieces…traces of love, long ago, that didn’t work out right….. traces of love with me, tonight.” Our digital photos no longer fade and crease, but our memories often do. The constant replaying of those photos helps me to remember those days, those moments and those memories.
I love the feeling of looking at my computer, and chuckling over a particularly silly time, or feeling that little “tug” on my heartstrings when a photo of a friend who is no longer with us pops up.
Life’s “Before” and “Afters”
I have photos of the first home I purchased as a single woman, about 5 years ago. At the time, I had recently come out of a marriage to a financially reckless man who left my finances devastated, my credit score well below 500, and no credit cards to my name. The ability to purchase this home was totally unexpected- kind of kismet, you might say. So, as I remodeled this home, doing vast amounts of the work with my own two (manicured) hands, not only did I build myself a new “home”- I was in the process of building a new life. Reinventing myself, and reinventing this dated mobile home into something I was proud of. I can remember the nights I worked at that house until 2 or 3 am getting it ready to move into. I loved that home, I shared it with numerous friends, having many events there. The sweat equity I built into that home became a springboard to purchase my second home as a single woman, the home I currently live in.
Looking at those photos when they randomly pop up- whether it is one of the “before” photos of a dated, worn out kitchen, or the unpainted 1970’s dingy, dark paneling, or the “after” pictures of the fabulous 1940’s style black, white and crystal bathroom I created, I feel a great sense of accomplishment for having made my way through what could have been a dark time.
There is no rhyme or reason to the order my photos from my past show up. Some pictures will have rotated 20 times through my screen, when others don’t seem to appear for months, but whatever is on my screen, there is ALWAYS a memory sparked. Often a smile. Sometimes a shake of the head and an eye roll, along with “What the hell was I thinking.” But no matter what the reaction, I know that what I am seeing is a snapshot of my past. And every one of them add up to having made me the woman I am today. The unique me that I am. Every one of them is a treasure to me, and to my ever fading memories of my past. Will I clear out those photos of my ex, my daughter’s ex, even the “friend” who might have turned out NOT to be such a great friend? Probably not. Because every one of the memories that pop up before my eyes are there for a reason.