Permission Granted.

21 Mar 2018

I've been throwing things out.

Yes – I've really taken it on. I promised I would. But it's been terrifying.

I've thought about it and the reason it's so scary is that I think I will make a mistake; I will throw something out and then regret it.

You see, I have done it before. I've had big chucking out sessions when I was in the grip of mania. I once threw out my children's "Red Books". Now, for those of you who are not UK based parents, the "Red Book" contains a record of your child's development and, (vitally) the record of their vaccinations. You need this information when they start school...

Guess who had to go back to their GP surgery and ask for that information again?

I once cleared a filing cabinet at work which contained some vital documents my boss then needed six months later.

I threw out some photos which were the only record of a fabulous project – my dragon cake. This cake was Smaug on his hoard, with iridescent wings outstretched and 273 individual scales, each one painted with rings of shimmering gold, bronze and metallic green. I am devastated to have lost those photographs.

But life is as much about our mistakes as our successes. They say the man who never made a mistake never made anything.

I find I delay the beginning of a project because I am waiting for some kind of permission. But no one can give me that permission except, well, me.

So, I've decided to give myself permission to make mistakes. After all, if I have no idea what is in that cupboard. If I have not used anything from that cupboard in two years, surely I can be pretty radical?

So, I've started.

There's my legal contract with the company; I suppose I'd better keep that... Some financial records – I'm supposed to keep those for seven years... And – oh, what a treasure: some drafts for murder mystery dinner parties! I thought I hadn't kept them. Oh, wonderful! Those I will keep.

But the notes from old training courses, instructions for equipment I no longer use, clothing catalogues, records from events I held three years ago – they can all go. What can go especially, are the things that make me feel guilty because I haven't done anything with them.

There are books on audio cassette to which I will never listen again. All my audio books are downloaded from Amazon now. I've replaced most of them already. Other favourites I will replace as funds allow. Cassettes are too cumbersome: we've all moved on.

Yes – I may regret throwing the odd thing away. But these objects and pieces of paper are all from my past. Only memories live there now.

And you know what? That dragon cake is more perfect in my memory and in my description to you just now, than it ever was in the photographs.


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