When I was little, I made terrible messes, and I had a paper issue. “Important” pieces of paper were scattered all over the room, and my dad, in an effort to stop the madness, insisted that I keep all of my important papers in a memorabilia box. Anything that didn’t fit in the box had to go.

All this time, I’ve kept a memorabilia box full of letters, papers, journals, tickets, notes…all pieces of paper that have had significance to me at some point. Tonight I was digging through it looking for an old note, and I found much more than I had expected.

Any important piece of paper that I’ve had has been thrown away at some point. I’m not sure why; I must have had a good reason for doing so then. Maybe I thought that various notes and letters were too important to me and that I had to throw them away so that I would never have to share them.

I also discovered a plethora of letters from friends, written on carefully chosen cards. They came here and there, but I never realized how many I had until now. Something about a well-chosen card with a sweet note is more meaningful than any present. I don’t think that registered with me then.

After I kept finding these cards, I realized how few I probably replied to. It doesn’t mean I cared any less, but it certainly looked that way. I think that now I have a lot of letters to write.

In a daring moment, I decided to open my freshman year journal. That’s one that I’ve always shied away from, thinking it too emotional or embarrassing to read. Well, it was that, but it showed me so much more that I could have thought possible. Maybe I’m wholly detached from that world, since I’m living in a different location and have few, if any connections left to that time.

While I may have been completely without inhibitions at the time, I was more confused that I have ever been in my life, with absolutely no clue about what my future held. In college, you specialize a bit and start to get ideas about life, but when you start out as a freshman, your whole life is ahead of you, replete with character-defining, challenging moments.

I don’t feel particularly envious of that time anymore. I’d rather carry around the stressors and decisions I’ve made, good and bad, then go back to a time where I had the raw power to build or destroy my world without any forewarning.

While I won’t share with you quotes from my journal, (which I’m seriously considering throwing away, too), I’ll give you a couple of my quotes that I found in it:

“Evil may be endured when our days pass
in mourning, heavy-hearted, hard beset,
if only sleep reigns over nighttime, blanketing
the world’s good and evil from our eyes.
But not for me: dreams too my demon sends me.
-Homer, The Odyssey, Book 20, Lines 100-105

“I can be a princess even if I am in rags and tatters. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in a cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it.” –Francis Hodgson Burnett, The Little Princess