I hate throwing things away. Notes from my high school boyfriend, pictures of friends I now loathe (yes, loathe), mementos from my eighth grade field trip to Baltimore … these are just a few of the many things collecting dust in several shoe boxes throughout my house.
It only seems logical then that I would also save voicemails for extended periods of time. And, one could easily assume that since I’m the only one with the password to said voicemails, saving them for years – mmhmm, years – would matter very little because only I can retrieve them.
So if I need a good laugh, or just a mild giggle, I can pick up the phone and listen to one of my good guy friends explaining how Justin Timberlake taught him how to dance in a drunken stupor. Or I can hear former roommates telling me how much they miss me now that I’ve moved 500 miles away.
But the first saved voicemail I always encounter is my most recent ex-boyfriend – a relationship that last 3+ years and ended early 2008. It’s a voicemail from late 2005 during a brief interlude from our coupledom without which we would not have gotten back together. And it’s a message that I saved for the last several years because of this; because it always meant so much to me as the catalyst for reuniting.
Though, I cannot recall the last time I listened to that particular voicemail. I’d hear his voice – “Hey MinD, um…” – and push 9 – “Resaved. Next message.” – and then do the same thing 20-some days later when greeted with “the following message will be deleted from your mailbox.” And yet, even now, months after the relationship has ended and he, too, has put 500 miles distance between us, I cannot hit 7 – “Message deleted.”
At what point does continually resaving this message seem futile? Is it already? Perhaps a bigger picture question: Why can’t I just let this message fall to the wayside? And on an even larger scale, why must I always hold on to things that 1) serve little to no purpose, 2) clutter my home and general life or 3) remind me of things perhaps better left forgotten?
The ex shall always hold a place in my heart and my past, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have every word of that message memorized anyway – I was a 20-year-old girl with a broken heart that December after all. But if I’m just going to continue saving this voicemail – and saving every other piece of my history – when comes the moment where I’m no longer cherishing memories, but holding onto the past?
Several months ago a friend told me I talk about my college experiences far too often, as if the life I lead now just doesn’t measure up. And while my four years at Penn State were the best years of my life thus far, I can’t help but wonder (little Carrie Bradshaw coming out) when I’ll start talking about the new memories I’ve yet to create and leaving the reminders of “better days” behind.
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