The first day I had at home alone when all of this social distancing started, I spent the entire day in my basement cleaning and organizing. A few hours into rummaging through boxes, I found my training journals. My entire competitive swimming career was tracked, scribbled, and noted in a box of journals. For ten years, I journaled daily, everything from my workouts, meals, feelings, free thoughts that floated onto the pages. This time was defined by vulnerability and painful learning experiences, so many years ago, I stored it in a box in my basement and tried to forget about it.
What I was expecting to feel was a rush of regrets; back then, I was a bit of an idiot. I trusted no one, I thought I knew it all, and even in the face of failure after failure, I refused to see that I was the cause. I opened up the nearest journal and flipped through the pages, and instead of regret or shame, I felt compassion for my former self. I could see the tear marks on the pages, the frustration in my handwriting, and the continued optimism and belief that I could overcome my obstacles.
What did I do with the journals?
I spent an hour or so combing through the pages, reminiscing on the athlete lifestyle, my training mates, the competitions, and the fun. After a few laughs, some smiles, and some tears, I decided it was time to part with them. I could hold onto these journals forever, but what use would they have? I have the memories, the life lessons, and old friends.
I brought the box upstairs and put it in the recycle bin; it was time to let go of the need to hold on. It was time to move forward without clinging to my past and time to embrace my new chapter with open arms.
My basement is clean.