Nostalgia

in the gloaming.

I spent the day at a used bookstore yesterday with my Dad in Mount Airy, NC called Yesterday's, and had a blast spending hours digging through old books, magazines, records, and other memorabilia. This is our idea of heaven... I joke that I am slowly buying back all my treasures from childhood! Happy

I found this 40+ year old National Geographic for my nature loving friend (Nat'l Geo calls to me, with great memories of my Dad's vast collection in the basement of our NY house growing up), and I loved the in depth piece on John Muir.

Muir's adventures and significant impact on our natural world are highlighted, along with photos and quotes of these parks and landmarks, and a peace settled over me just reading about his legacy.

"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” ~ John Muir


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The gloaming, dusk, has always been my favorite time of day. It is magical.

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inbetween days.

After being sick this entire holiday break and quarantined in my pajamas, with one happy exception on Christmas Eve, (my work is closed for the holiday season until after the New Year), I'm back to the grind of purging and sorting.

It is draining, emotional, lonely, wandering through the hallways of the past. It is necessary work. It is also incredibly poignant, fun, and daunting. Feeling the feelings as they come and allowing them to pass through me. The deeper I get, the closer I get to me. This is the cool part. As strange and
in-between a process as this is (I could use a good dose of The Cure right now, the anthem band of nostalgia), I know I am marching towards my most authentic and true self and destiny, and that feels exhilafrightciting, to use a phrase created by someone I used to know. Swimming in the depths of nostalgia, scraps of thought, kind words from loved ones, glimmers of who I want to be, things I want to explore, and old shit, it is like walking the pages of a Choose Your Own Adventure book.

I took a mental break this evening and saw
Dallas Buyers Club, and something Ron Woodroof's character said rang very true for me: "Sometimes it feels like I'm fighting for a life I ain't got time to live." I feel like I am playing catch up so much of the time that I don't get a chance to stop for a minute, catch my breath, and just be in the present. I try to reassure myself with the thought from my doctor that I have indeed been living, all these years, just like everyone else, just doing different things, and learning in different ways. I may not have been out "playing pinball" as he put it, but I was living and learning just the same. That comforts me.

I've connected on a deep level to the HIV and AIDS movement since the early nineties, when I was very ill and could relate to so many of the struggles faced by those afflicted. It's worthy of a separate post sometime, but this raw passion for health, born out of experience and hardcore empathy, is an important chorus that rattles around the chambers of my heart, and physical space, present in books, articles, notes, people, and knowledge. It was a nice reminder to supplement the deep dive explorations I'm doing in my surroundings. A few finds from today:

Consent for treatment, 2002.
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Dreams.
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My very first Apple product, my PowerBook G4, circa 2005, is being laid to rest.
Bon voyage, silver bullet.
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My cute Momma helping me sort
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I've carried this thing around from state to state over the years. Must be I liked what it said...
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"getting organized."

I remember talking to my Dad on the phone when I was away at college, and whenever he asked me what I was doing, the answer was usually "organizing" or getting organized" - you can ask him. Happy I'm still at it! After examining my values through a tool we have where I work called Values Explorer, I know that 2 things I always value are knowledge and wisdom, so that seems to be part of it- I've been hoarding bits of knowledge for decades now, organizing it, and then eventually planning to share it I suppose with the world, and at the least use it to make me a more effective, directed individual.

I think it also explains why I have a hard time getting rid of these kinds of things, such as books, newspapers, informational articles, resources, etc. because I value them so. I know some people who couldn't be more opposite in this regard, and they value other things more. For me, there is always something to do, something to learn, something to discover. I could remain in this house for the rest of my days and I wouldn't be able to read all that is currently in my possession. That's something, seeing as I'm still in my 30's... Laugh

I'm learning the balance now of amassing and digesting knowledge, and then releasing it, to move on to the next thing. So much is constantly changing and improving anyway that it is hard for any of these things to remain static. There are some classics that just are, of course, or sentimental. But other knowledge is time and date sensitive, and there's always new material being generated. For someone who values this stuff so highly, this can create quite a tension and stress, trying to keep up with it all and not wanting to lose the history of the old. I definitely resemble many professors I know in this respect. Knowledge is power. Wisdom is a goal. But if you have so much of it that it becomes difficult to meander lightly through life, its time to lighten the load.

A friend was talking last night about how the internet available at any moment to us has changed our learning and existence, in that kids don't feel they have to learn as much any more, because they can just look it up. That was an odd concept to consider. It's both freeing and frightening. The thought of our brains atrophying because we no longer seek to learn, just look up. Perhaps different skills are being harnessed in this technological era (I hope). A mantra that comes to mind often for me when considering this work is from a Be Good Tanyas song:
Keep it Light Enough to Travel. Ultimately, I'd rather absorb and process what I can and store it in my mind, and release the rest so that things can flow on, but I know this struggle will always be one I wrestle with. For now, I'm working to trust as much as I'm able to technological archiving and sharing sites such as Pinterest, and then my electronic filing, which basically is a black hole that I am 99% sure I will never look at again. Old school paper sometimes is more in your face, tangible, and accessible, especially after spending most of the day on a computer - I just am not very inspired to do it at home as well.

I'm down to 2 (admittedly very large) bookcases, 4 filing cabinets, 2 closets,
1 dresser/console, and 1 trunk of books/paper Happy
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val's in da house

So, it's back to the house. Teresa, my friend of almost 10 years (gulp- cannot believe it has been this long!!), and her beautiful daughter Skyler, have resurfaced in my life at an opportune time. They are thoughtful, funny, caring, hardworking and dedicated to a fault. Where I flounder and freak out in overwhelm, Teresa lays down the law and "gets it done." She is hardcore and actually accomplishes things and moves forward in life- what a concept! Laugh

For those of us that are Ns (iNtuiton in the Myers Briggs type indicator), we envy these results-oriented Sensing types. They DO things and are known as the masters of action and implementation, out there living life, whereas iNtuitives are more abstract in their worlds of ideas and reflection, and we may take F-O-R-E-V-E-R to actually do anything concrete... and may not realize it because being in our heads, making connections and philosophizing feels like doing something to us! Being pushed into motion feels exhilarating to people like me and I highly value the support of my friends, and the other fellow Ss in my life (my Mom and Grandma), even though we spar over this key functional difference sometimes of course.

Thanks to Teresa and Skyler, I am in motion again after a longer than I would have liked hiatus. We tackled ONE drawer, and then cleaned up and restored the place to previous order. Definitely not the way I would have worked if I was running the show, so I was very grateful for some guidance to keep me in check! It's great to have a team - Skyler very quickly shred a ton of old bills and statements, put things to keep in clear plastic sleeves, and filed folders. Teresa challenged me on items that I might have contemplated keeping, (mostly things years old that I haven't read, probably never will, and that are only making me feel guilty- what's the point of continuing to lug that shit around?) with "It's 2014 Valerie!"

Huh. You know, clearly, as strange as it sounds, I do not yet have a grasp of year or decade. It's that Rip Van Winkle syndrome thing I have from feeling like I've missed years of time due to survivor mode illness- I just feel like it's earlier than it is. This process makes me feel good because it gets me one step closer to the present, which is the real gift. Punny but true! We also made lists so I can cross off the drawers/boxes/bins/cubbies as I clear them, and celebrate my progress catching up! Incredibly, in doing just one drawer we uncovered some important and very relevant writings and other finds that will help support me on my next steps.

Goodbye 1997 John Cusack! It's been a great 17 years...
(I can't believe I got this when I was 19!! Now that feels like a long time ago...)
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Waking Life (Richard Linklater) movie rental, 2004.

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Super efficient filer and shredder Skyler at work
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1 drawer cleared= 1 bag of shredding and 5+ pounds recycling!
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