I have choices to make, many choices. I have been given measurements of what my whole life will fit into. It is a 5X8X9 pod. These are my restrictions, my limitations, my ultimate goal of dwindling my life into 40 sq ft. I am looking at my belongings and wondering what will I take, what will I share, and what will I discard as if it never existed.
My first priority are my memories, these pieces of paper in which my life has been documented through photographs. I will not compromise as really it is all that matters, my mark on the universe. It only took a pointer finger to push a button to document these glimpses into my life. What I found important in that moment, how I saw the world that day, how my heart intersected with those around me. I chose that moment to be captured, stored, and carried with me for my entire life and when I die, someone will sort through them and pick out my final slideshow of those private seconds that I held dear.
The next items are what I call my life functioning tools. What do I need to function in a day? For some it would be their phone and computer, the rest could be thrown aside, but for me it has always been an old book. The aroma that enters the room when it is opened, the look of a worn binder fraying at the edges, the emotions it evokes when you know you are holding something that connected, educated, shared, and provoked a world for generations. A book has always taken us to far off places, opened our imaginations to the possibility of more, and created a universal language that we all, if invested could share knowledge. Over the years, I have picked up these books at resale shops, estate sales, and library closings. I don’t have many, but the ones I do, I cherish. They remind of me of where we have been and how much we have lost along the way. Some of my books are over 100 years old, my what stories it tells just in its age. Some are crumbling, some are just like new, but all had a purpose and it is documented in the pages and stamped on the front page to be remembered forever.
Of course, there are my clothes, my kitchen necessities, and more that I need to rummage through and pick what to bring with me and for the most part it has been fairly easy, until I reached my shoes. Now mind you, I do not have expensive shoes, as like with all my things, I am a bargain shopper, not a label shopper. It isn’t the outward appearance of the shoe or even the way it fits as the reason why I want to keep the shoe. It is the memory of wearing them. The kindergarten graduation, the first date (yes, I have the shoes I wore 18 years ago), the endless miles of walking while traveling, and the running after my children as they have grown. I look at all these shoes and the miles I have stepped in them. Did I take a leap of faith while wearing those heels or did I take two steps backwards when I put those clogs on? I ask myself are these shoes going to move me forward or are they going to have me hold on to something that is long gone? I am overwhelmed with the weight of these shoes. They take up so much space there is no way to bring them all so I have decisions to make. I decide to come full circle and take a picture of the shoes that I am holding onto for the memory and not the functionality. Maybe one day I will write a story on each pair and where they took me and the heavy weight some carried along my path in life. But, for now they are just a moment in time in which my pointer finger captured with no real meaning to the person looking at them. A picture of these shoes will not make my final slideshow because no one has walked in them, but me.
So, maybe this is what life is. Taking the time to put on our shoes each day and walk into our lives and create a life we are meant to share. We can take the photograph but only we know the significance of that photo unless we create the book for others to read. In 100 years will we be remembered for the money we pursued, the hours we worked tirelessly, or the way we looked in those fancy heels? No, but we will be remembered for the pauses we took in life, those photo worthy moments when life stood still and we decided to click the button. These are the times that we are writing the book for the ones we love to share, to be written in all its glory with the people that matter to us and hopefully, etching the words into their souls and their hearts. These investments of our time will be on someone’s shelf to be remembered in the next 100 years. When that chapter comes into their mind or they pick up that photograph, the aroma of love will intersect with all the frayed edges of life and for a moment your memory will fill their consciousness and their soul.
As time goes on without us in this world and memories began to fade the book of our life will still matter to the people who encountered us at our best and unfortunately at our worst. We need to make sure every step we take in our shoes is for the good, the photograph snapped in people’s minds of us are happy, and our book of life will want to be shared, never to be forgotten or discarded. It is the people who will share our story, not our money, not our job title, not our outward appearance, but the investment in others that will be our final slideshow when we depart.