Archaeology of My Life

Sunday afternoon, I decided to do some late spring cleaning. This meant going through this one old box and see what is inside. The box contained a whole bunch of brown manila envelopes full of papers.

This is what I found:

  1. Old photos from 2005.
  2. Congratulations cards from 2005
  3. Credit card statements from 2005-2006.
  4. Bank statements from the same time period.
  5. Police report from my 2003 accident
  6. Investment statements from around the same time
  7. A letter from this couple who had left my company in 2014 asking for financial support when they joined a non-profit organization combating human trafficking overseas
  8. Some informational packets and brochures
  9. Paperwork from 2014, 2015 after refinancing our mortgage.
  10. Random receipts

By law and best practices, you need to keep maybe the last 7 years of records. So why do I have stuff from 13 years ago??

Short answer: pack rat.

That got me thinking: so what did I spend my money 13 years ago? I decided to look at the credit card statements.

2005 to 2006 was when I had just graduated law school and didn’t have a job. I was in a transition. My receipts: UPS Store – shipping things back home.

There are so many things on that list are just scrap paper not worth keeping. Right now, everything is digital, paper-less, and stored as PDFs. Other than the photos, the cards, and the refinancing paperwork, everything is a security risk.

Everything else went into the shredder.

It took 2 full trash bags and a vacuum cleaner to suck up all the small pieces of paper that missed the bag while emptying the paper shredder’s box.

I’m a historian at heart so I am acutely aware of the value of looking at history’s refuse heaps. After all, they found 9 levels for the ancient city of Troy. We can learn a lot about a people by what they kept and threw out. My life has plenty of layers and how the past has shaped me; how the times of transition and lack of income shade how I view my present. At the same time, I could even laugh at what I spend my money 10 years ago – what I thought was so important and where that thing is now.

9 Layers of Troy

The only question left to answer: What I find in 10 years time?

I end with the chorus from a song by my favorite band: The OC Supertones – 20/20:
What will I say when I’m faced with his glory the saints
And the angels as I tell my story
Will the works I’ve accomplished be worthy of heaven
What will I think lookin’ back
What was gold what was dross
What was gain what was loss
What will stand what was fleeting
And what will I change while my hearts still beating

4 thoughts on “Archaeology of My Life

  1. Yep, I’m currently going through a boatload of paperwork myself. Receipts from 2013? No need for those, if I can even read them any more (gas receipts fade within months!).

    So congrats on overcoming that inner pack rat 😀

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