Speaking of Boxes

In response to my last installment in the Unemployment Benefits series, Brenda commented on the list item, “Deal with the boxes of stuff I brought home from Company A/B and have not had the emotional courage to tackle.”

I’ve been thinking about those boxes.

We all have them. The emotional boxes in which we’ve packed away feelings and memories that we’d rather not have to deal with or encounter again, as well as physical cardboard boxes that put painful reminders out of sight, but are reminders themselves. It’s difficult to talk about the physical boxes without referring to what they symbolize.

I have a fresh set of “boxes” that I’m currently ignoring. I’ve had to refer to information in the file folders several times in the past few months, but I’ve been hesitant to do a wholesale sort and purge. It’s too soon.

Eventually, some of the paper will feed the shredder as I say, “Good riddance”. Some of the sheets will go directly to the recycle bin with my blessing as I allow them to find new purpose. Some of the paper will get a second chance when I print something new on its reverse side. The most precious ones will be retained.

All of it is no longer useful for its previous purposes.

And yet, from doing this exercise a number of times before, I now know that there is more in those boxes than just paper. As I assign new meaning or life to each of the sheets of paper, I know that even the ones I keep and file away will likely find new purpose in the future.

For what’s in those boxes represents added experience and knowledge from a particular job, work environment, or area of expertise. When I packed those boxes to bring home, the experience was packed right along with them and carried out the door. I own that experience. It is now part of me. And it will serve me in some way again.

The boxes don’t represent something left behind, something taken away. They represent what you’ve gained in the process of building the collection of paper and files that they hold. And it’s impossible for mere boxes to contain that.

    • Ann Smith
    • March 10th, 2011

    I have boxes too. In time some of them represent good memories and others fade away. But I hold on to them.

    • Daniel
    • March 9th, 2011

    Dear Paula,

    Just wanted to congratulate you on the blog. I follow it daily through RSS.

    Looks like you’re attracting a crowd. Good on ya’!

    All the best.


    LinkedIn: http://ca.linkedin.com/in/1danielhart

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