I deleted 6,587 emails.
Over the course of the past two days, I have pressed the trash button on 6,587 emails. My unread messages no longer read 1,261 in that red little bubble on my phone. My Gmail account no longer has pages on pages of 50 emails per page and spam for days. And I can actually start to see an organized way of reading mails and filing messages in my 2015 year, like a coherent To-Do list in a Virgo lifestyle. Highly, highly recommended.
So in this endeavor, I went back. I am talking way back. All the way to 2006 in my email inbox and truly, in my memory box. I found old conversations with great friends, past lovers, job applications, job welcomes, Gchat history with my fiance from the past 8 years, old (weird, blurry, racy, fun-filled) pictures as attachments, and mixer invites from marathon training. In moments, I read my words as if they were written from someone I used to know. That felt weird. And in other moments, I felt familiar. I smiled and even laughed at my own cheesy jokes.
A couple of moments stuck out that I will share with you:
One conversation with a friend telling me to get my shit together and stop switching job so many times and just stand still. I remember that he never wrote long emails and he always got to the point faster than I wanted. Not because I did not want to hear what he had to say but more so because the point was jagged, truthful and harsh. Every single time.
I found an email from one of my oldest friends actually asking me if I ever used Gchat. I thought that was funny. Like reading an email from someone asking if you had tried out this whole iPhone thing.
I read passages shared from my fiance and I before there was even an inkling of dating, loving and marrying one another. I mean, there was always flirting. Always. And ironically, in every chat exchange he somehow found a way to compliment me, tell me I was great or sneak in hints that he adored me. Whether it was talks of being future roommates, ideas of future vacations (cough, honeymoons, cough) or hidden meanings in lyrics of song sharing, it is as if he knew the whole time. I love that.
There were emails with life updates between me and my best friend. She decided to pack up a few times and take residence in Australia one year and then again all over Europe. Those were doozies to read. We are both in such a radically different spaces now, makes it feel like a different lifetime reading her emails about money, love (or lust, whichever), my fluctuating and gnarly body image or future planning.
Another couple of exchanges between friends that I am no longer friends with anymore, at all. To read the closeness that once was and to no longer know them at all now, so odd. Do I miss them? I see them getting married, having babies and crafting cool things on social media and I send a head nod of love. But that is all.
I realized I was pretty vague in my early to mid-20s. Maybe exchange vague for fake. Okay, they are interchangeable. To the amazing men (and well, the jerks) I drafted in the playing field of insecurity, un-grounded-ness and alcohol, let me just say, I am sorry for the unclear communication. Thank you for teaching me how to love. Or really, how not to love as you made it clear, got the hell out-of-the-way of the ever so vague/fake tornado I was and moved on. Smart on you.
I love the awkward emails when making new friends. Especially new girlfriends. The over-niceness, the formalities and the extended invites only-if-you-want-to-join-and-have-nothing-to-do type invites. I see my future as a new resident in Denver could go this way or I can get real and be bold. I'll choose the latter now that I am older and wiser.
I could go on and on. The memory bank runneth over.
In this practice, I realized the massive impact of time. And then on the flipside, I recognize the fleeting moments that seem to go so, so fast. On one side, I see the ripple effect of time in wisdom and grace (note: Still working on the grace part. But really, who isn't, I think it is called being human). Holy grateful to be thirty, in a loving relationship and chasing big goals down. Or I should say chasing goals up, makes more sense. And grateful to be in a space where I can pause, check myself and listen for the next move versus force it with aggression and fear. I breathe more here and now. Aging works wonders.
And on the other side, it all goes so damn fast. That person no longer, that love faded, a new chapter written, and hey, those awkward moments really were only momentary. What is he or she doing now, why did I care so much about that opinion, that was fun and so free-spirited of me, and holy hell, what was I thinking?
As I read through the old emails, purge the messages, and let the memories slip in and out of my psyche, I am struck by time (pun intended). The choice and practice to actually be in the moment, no matter how amazing or just excruciatingly shit it may have been. Because it passes. It all passes. Teaching you something new, shifting your perspective, bringing new energy in the form of new friends or loved ones or allowing failure and creating space for the new, different, wiser, more patient.
Knowing it all passes. So quickly.
Knowing you learn from it all.
Know you can age gracefully with clear communication, choice and humility.
Knowing you have failed. Over and over again. Yet, still alive. Who knew?
Knowing you might not be the person you were last year, even last week.
Knowing you have time to listen in, check in and get real. Meet yourself where you are now.
All those yesterdays are today. What are you doing with your time now?
What emails do you want to be reading when you choose to purge in another 10 years?
Go back. Remember. Let go. Purge and delete, as necessary. Get here and now.