Thursday, September 10, 2009

Trying to get rid of any evidence of a former self

In seventh grade, we had these things called Reading Logs that were used to keep track of how many books we read each quarter. Our grade was based on the total number of pages we read, so it was kind of like a little competition among the three people in the class who actually liked to read.

Here's is my reading log. I know what you're thinking: "You could only fill up ONE page? What about that girl who filled three separate logs and needed six pages to list her books?!" I guess I was just spent a lot more time being wild and crazy back then than she did.

Now, upon returning home, it was confirmed that I, indeed, have too much stuff. I have since embarked on a quest to rid my room myself of the useless crap lying around that I never use. It is a daunting task, friends.

My book collection has increased since college with volumes more relevant to my interests (notably this!), but my shelves are still filled with things I haven't read since this reading log was made (notably this!). My strategy is two-fold:

1) Sell books I don't want on

2) Donate/recycle/move the rest of them.

I have since sold 12 20 books with my Amazon seller account, and they were mostly just college texts from sophomore year I had forgotten about. I've gone through my shelves and cleared out the old paperbacks from my youth-hood, and that's when I found the reading log, tucked away in my shelf, hidden and unopened for years.

Looking through it made me pause: should I think twice about getting rid of so many books that I grew up with? Do these paperbacks hold any real sentimental value, or have I just grown so accustomed to their companionship on my shelves that the idea of swapping them out for new books demonstrates an uncomfortable, jarring change?

This is a time of transition in my life, moving from one opportunity to other, and as much as I love, appreciate and enjoy being home, I can't help but see this as a temporary situation. I can leave my bedroom as it was, a relic of the middle school and high school Charlie, or let it reflect who I am now, getting to most out of my shelves and drawer space.

This is a saddening thought, that the younger version of myself is almost being erased in favor of the new me, but change has always been exciting, rather than terrifying, for me. My 7th grade self might be sad to see the all the Agatha Christie mysteries moved to make space for some new photo albums and design books, but I know he would be happy that I was letting myself change, using this space in the moment, rather than clinging to what it has been in the past.

But maybe it's just time for more shelf space, time to move those old books where they can sit and get read later on when I'm interested in them (but probably not this one). If that's the case, I should be look at them as past of a carefully curated selection of literature, rather than artifacts of my past childhood.

It's easier to justify not throwing them out that way.


  1. i'm sorry you lost 50 pages for turning it in late.