the art of housekeeping

Clutter. De-clutter. Re-clutter.

Housekeeping is a really simple experience that brings you close to your own soul. It is funny how usually people only do housekeeping when their areas are cluttered and messy but instead of de-cluttering, housekeeping usually results in re-cluttering. This happens because the human mind and brain do not understand each other the way we hope they do. For instance, when I look at things that I carefully kept in the past, be it the diaries which I dutifully wrote in, the CDs of artists whom I was crazy over in the past or the Japanese mangas that I periodically bought, I have a difficult time deciding what I want to do with them. My mind tells me that I will most likely lead my life without looking at them again because I have moved on from my past. Practically, I should give them away or discard, depending on their condition. But when I held these artifacts that I used to treasure so much in my hands, I was stung by nostalgia. Scenes from my own past came to mind. I see my adolescent self scribbling in the diary on the dining table late at night, happily writing down events from the day and attempting to philosophize about the events. I remember the happiness I felt when I finally found the one album in the CD store which would complete my collection of Do As Infinity’s albums. I remember the surprise I felt when I received handwritten and beautifully decorated letters from my friends. I could not throw any of these away. But my area is too cluttered for me to store new letters and presents there. So in the end, I got a new box/ bag and packed the items in it as effectively and efficiently as possible. The items are still inside the house but at least I have made room for new objects to come in.

At the end of a day of housekeeping, the question remains – do I need these items to remind me of my own past? Philosophically, the answer should be no for two reasons. First, the fragments of the past that are important to me are already kept close in my heart. If so, there is no point in keeping the tangible items because I have already remembered what I want to remember. Second, my life is just a small drop of water in the ocean and these items that I have carefully kept are really unimportant to the world. In other words, they are not part of the legacy that I might leave.

But emotionally, I need to keep these things to remind myself of the past. I am afraid that I might forget important things and I am also afraid that something seemingly inconsequential today might seem important to me tomorrow. I need to keep to remember. More importantly, I need tangible things from the past to remind myself that the past is part of my life. As I move on in life, sometimes it feels as though the past is neither connected to the present nor the future. Sometimes it feels as though the past is nothing but just a dream. So I need these things to prove to myself that it was not a dream.

What and why do you keep?

一路走一路走一路向前走。。。

拼命似的向前走。

走到这里,拿到了一些,都捉紧了。

再走到下一个地点,幸运地再拿到一些,却又要无奈地放下另一些。

曾经着紧的,也许现在不这么了,有些不在意的,永远伴着你。

把所有拿到的,放进盒子里,牢牢锁起。

有时,盒满了,太重了,必须整个遗下来。

脚步却停不了,要继续往前。

唯有重新塑造下一个木盒子。

一个一个又一个。

慢慢的都镇满了。

新的暗藏着旧的,旧的其实也默默地充当着新的支柱。

一路走下来,里面原来都是我们记下的一切。

到最后,终于察觉到,

我们不在需要容器。

一切要记住的,都已经紧紧的印在我们体内。

所有重要的,原来早已握在手心中。

何韵诗 – 《What Really Matters》

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