Minimise The Past to Maximise The Future?
If a stranger took a look around my room it would take him less than a second to see that I really am not a minimalist. Don‘t get me wrong. I actually am of the rare breed of people that enjoys cleaning up, yet I love even more to plaster walls with fotos, string lights and Beatles portraits. Even though I probably declutter every other week I defenitely posess too many knick-knacks, but still everything has it‘s place.
It is part of my personality to keep things that have a special history or just have that certain aesthetic. As Miuccia Prada said: „Aesthetics are a really important part of my life. And so beauty, objects, places, I like them instinctively.“ Something that I couldn‘t phrase better.
Of course aesthetics and minimalism don‘t exclude each other remotely. But fact is, aesthetic is a highly subjective and subconcious perception and in my world I prefer colors, coziness and miscellaneousness. I however do get the point of minimalism. By decluttering and cutting down to the most basic things and reducing clothes, furniture etc. to a, well… minimum, you declutter the mind. You can eventually free yourself and reduce worries, save time, focus on more “important stuff“, which again is a subjective thing. Decorating and moving things around is very meditative and important to me.
Now, even though I really am the type who feels snug as a bug in a bed with a bazillion pillows and doesn‘t feel claustrophobic in a room full of colorful clothing rags, even I got to a point where I had to cut down for my balance. I had to cut down on memorabilia.
I had this really big foto wall that was a collection of probably the past 5 years of my life that I updated every now and then. Friends, moments, festivals, tickets, yes even old ice cream cups that I saved from a special day.
It was always nice to look at it. All these memories, my whole youth. There were so many memories and old fotos that are so old it wasn’t even me anymore. I loved that wall, I really did, but over the years it just became so hard to maintain. Youth is such vast and fast forward time. It always struck me how fast people were leaving the wall and new people were entering it. It was a documentary. It never got boring to look at it, but somehow after school ended and things changed so drastically, the people I had known all of a sudden faded from the wall. It would become very depressing to look at it. It certainly was affecting me subconsciously. I’ve been talking about closure, change and letting go of the past, but at the same time I was surrounded by all these moments long gone.
It’s good to go through old stuff once every other year, but there’s no need to see it as the first thing in the morning when you wake up everyday. I used to compulsively put everything up to make sure everything I love, every great moment was still there… And that caused me to flashback to the past and once I even caught myself thinking I already had the best time of my life, which, honestly, is the most infantile, frivolous, dangerous and wrong thing to think. Memories are tricky. They can be beautiful, but so distracting from the now. Memories are like stars. It‘s nice to look at them, but they’re devilishly tempting to get caught up in and forget to look at the road in front of you.
I’m currently stuck in a limbo that lies between two chapters and the new one is yet to come. I’m no longer the child/person I used to be and that is good. These memories will be forever mine, but what’s past is past. It can never be altered or re-lived. That‘s when I realized I had to take it down. It was my only chance of truly letting go.
Actually it all started when my boyfriend suggested I should re-do it. Take down old fotos and put on new ones, but he really unsnapped an avalanche. It opened my eyes: I need to take it all down. I realized that it‘s not good to plaster your walls with memories… And so I took it down. I left nothing. I put the fotos back into their envelopes safely kept in boxes and shelves.
Left was only a chipboard covered in white fabric given the new function of an inspiration board. It was like a detox for my mind. I gave myself space for new things and thoughts to look forward and live more in the now. By minimising the presence of the past you can eventually maximise the anticipation of the future, but even though taking it down was a huge step for me that changed my life for the better, I’ll never be a minimalist. As the last foto went I already had a head full of ideas of things to do with it. I just have to find a way to stay within reasonable bounds.
And that is the story of how my wall of memories became a memory…