2 min read

The past is over.

At the desk, 9:38 a.m.

Yesterday was the day to let all the shredding go. Time to say good bye to all the decisions I'd made in the past, all the checks I'd written, events I'd planned, failures, successes, letters of recommendation, and letters of good-bye. I've spent the last week shredding them all.

Of course, I'd shredded my client files years ago. I thought that cutting up their files into little bits would be hard, painful, or even a relief. But letting go of their paperwork, payments, and my chart notes was simply a part of the process.

They came to see me to relieve their pain, focus their lives, or simply because they were forced to by someone or something.

I did my best to help them in whatever way I could. Some people felt like I helped them; some people are sure I didn't. Some people tell me that something I said made better sense yesterday than it did all those years ago. I did what I could.

They left and eventually I shredded their file.

The process isn't any different from planting a garden - work the soil, add compost, plant the seed, give it water and sunlight, it grows into a magnificent plant which bears fruit, harvest the fruit, and when the season is over, cut down the plant, and add it to the compost pile.

The files I shredded were different. Sure, some of them were personal - the last cruel letter I received from my biological mother, a bossy note from my oldest sister, my high school and college grades, pages and pages of doctor's notes for my sister's disability and her financial default, resumes, etc. But most of the files were financial - taxes, old checks, bank statements from old businesses, forms, and... whatever else.

These files felt much more personal because every scrap of paper involved decisions I had made. Good decisions, bad decisions, ugly decisions, beautiful decisions - they were all there in black and white. I found a copy of the check we bought Rose with and a copy of the copay for the ankle breaking first meeting of the in-laws. My psychotherapy license papers and... well, a lot of other stuff.

And, as of yesterday, they sat in 8-50 gallon black trash bags nested in the truck bed.

The recycling place told us that they couldn't accept them. Turns out if they can't sort the paper, they can't accept the shredding. We did recycle the boxes the paper was stored in.

Because we live on allies with trash bins, we drove from bin to bin depositing one heavy black bag of shredding in each bin until the truck bed was empty.

And the past is over and done with.

It's not like I didn't know the past was over and done with before yesterday.

In some way, depositing those bags in the dumpsters concretized the fact that the past is over.


So here's the question that everyone who knows me has already asked: What's next?

I have no idea.