I have just finished burning reciepts, checks and other tax documents from the years 1983-2000. In the course of cleaning out the attic I had found many shoe boxes full of this stuff as well as one large box filled with the documents that I had apparently brought with me from Brooklyn in 1994. I was glancing through the cancelled checks and was able to trace my journey from the upper west side of Manhattan, to Carroll Gardens in Brooklyn and then to here. By chance (?) I happened upon the checks I had signed and handed over at the closing on this house. I set those aside while I finished the burning. All told it took over an hour and a half to destroy that paper trail- old credit card receipts for a card I no longer have but from a time when the full number of the account was on the receipt, many many receipts from bookstores and yarn stores, a thick stack of bus ticket stubs from when I was newly moved up here but had to return to NYC every week to sign the checks for the Graphic Artists Guild, bank statements for accounts long closed, checks from past lives with new addresses inked on them, even the cancelled checks from my divorce- all gone, all reduced to slivers of carbon.
As a last step, I put the house-closing checks on the embers one by one and watched them burn up. A few tears were shed but not as many as I was expecting. I am perhaps already one foot out the door, tired of this dragged-out process yet fully aware that I am the one who dragged it out. I could have called a mover weeks ago, I could have finished this move much earlier- indeed, I kept saying I wanted this to be over, and I do. But... But... But there is still this reluctance to take the actions. "Isn't there someone out there who will do this for me," I hear a small voice say in my mind. No, I have to do this myself.
I have been wonderfully supported by friends through this but they have lives of their own to lead, and they are friends, not parents. And I want to be their friend, not some ever-needy child they need to take care of.
So, I need to remember the wisdom of Eleanor Roosevelt: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, all we have is today- which is why it is called the present."
My move is scheduled to begin Monday morning at 7:30am.