When I was a kid, I put all of the special items that ended up in my life (twigs I liked, medals from sports, t-shirts from events, etc.) into a box appropriately named a special box. It occurred to me that everyone does something like this, collecting meaningful items, but there is very little written or talked about involving what system it makes sense to use for managing the items.
The system was basically just anything I thought I would want to look fondly back on one day got archived in a box. It’s amazing when I look back on it and go through the box the extent of the things I did and considered special. My parents gave us a constant stream of interesting, meaningful things to pursue. When you are kid you don’t appreciate it, so I’m glad for the box.
We’ve adapted the concept to our own family (Jess, Magnus and I) so we are continuing to do the same thing: keep anything of significance in a box. We made a really exciting contribution the other day which prompted me to think more about it. Magnus had the first item of significance that makes no sense: an empty bag of peas. He is fascinated by it. There is no way I will ever let go of this bag of peas, purely because of the intensity of the joy he feels staring at it. Meaning can be hard to communicate about for a four month old, but in this case it’s obvious.
Hopefully one day he can sit with the important people in his life and consider why his parents put an empty bag of peas in the box on his behalf. What I doubt though is that anyone involved will mind the overhead involved in keeping things like that safely stored and a part of our life. As someone who values minimalism, I often purge various items from my life. But I have never purged an item from the special box, and I don’t think I ever would. Which is curious to me.
I’m not sure why a photo can’t do the significance of something like a bag of peas or a favourite twig justice but it just doesn’t quite do it. And it makes me sad to think that people can lose these deeply valued items in fire or just because it’s a pain to store. Everyone should keep a special box, regardless of how small, because everyone would be surprised how full it gets.