Tonight, I bid farewell to a lifelong companion, a friend who has been with me since I was born, a friend who has silently shared each and every moment of my life up until this point. My friend’s name is Freddy, and he is a bear.
As I write this now, Freddy is laying inside a black garbage bag, inside a black garbage bin. In a few hours, the garbage truck will arrive and tip the garbage bin upside-down, depositing Freddy and a whole lot of other childhood objects on top of the rest of the neighborhood’s trash. He’ll probably be compacted at that point. It is a saddening thought, but it is necessary.
These past few months, as can be seen in the museum, I have spent a lot of time combing through all of my belongings. Boxes and boxes of things that I’ve collected over the decades, stuffed under the bed, stuffed into the closet, opened once every few years for nostalgia’s sake, taking up space. I never really understood that I had so many things. Yes, they are mostly contained in an 11-foot by 11-foot room, but it wasn’t until I went through them, trying to decide whether to keep them, that I truly felt their weight. The Transformers from before we moved to the US. Coloring pencils from primary school. Books that I used to read before bed, mesmerized by the images I imagined in my head. What do all these things have in common? They are the property of a child, around 10 years old (plus or minus a few years), and still innocent. His world is Sega games, dinosaur books, and going to school.
It sounds obvious and ridiculous to even have to say it, but I am no longer a child. If you look at the archive of greetings I’ve made here on this website, you’ll find that I stated I was a 30-something in 2010. Now, in 2017, I am almost a 40-something. A 40-something. A grown man, approaching middle age. When I ask myself why I’ve kept all those childhood things, I wonder if maybe I’m just a man in body, who has not grown up inside.
Time keeps moving forward, and sometimes we don’t realize that we are being left behind, stuck in the same place. It is that weight which I mentioned before. Carrying all those things gets heavy. We each get one life to live, and a lifetime of experiences awaits us if we’re willing to put down all those heavy things and move forward. Staying only in the past is wasting valuable time. In the end, it will be like we lived only half a life.
And so, it is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye to Freddy, and all the other companions that have accompanied me in my life’s journey thus far. I am sad to part with things that I have had for decades, but ultimately these companions are inanimate objects, and it is I who gave them life and voices. As JC pointed out, they’ve been me all along, and they will continue to be me. That is a comforting thought. Goodbye friends, and thank you.