I have been cleaning my apartment. More to the point, I've been purging all the trinkets, papers, notes and cards (and all the bills and boring documents) I've accumulated since I was in college. I've carted this trove around with me for over 15 years. Nearly half of my life and more than half of the time I've been a sentient being with the ability to make a decision to throw something out. (I struggle mightily against the hoarding gene I've inherited from my mother and grandfather.)
I'm actually glad I've kept so much, and at least a quarter of these items are going back in the keepsake box. There's the letters from my grandmother, and my mom's best friend, even a couple of cards from my family that were especially nice (before everything fell apart). But my favorite things are the graduation card that Eshanthika made me, all of the Christmas cards that Judy sent me, and the letters that Alex wrote me while he was teaching English in Japan. More recent acquisitions include a stack of awesome birthday cards from friends over the years.
If I have one regret (though truthfully I have many), it is that I wasn't able to fully appreciate how lovely everyone has been to me over the course of my life, in the moments in which these sentiments were expressed. Life is so busy- mine in particular- and technology makes everything so inconsequential, that I've lost sight of the time and effort that used to go into cultivating friendships. So many letters, emails, conversations, shared experiences.
Like a good little Buddhist, I'll simply express gratitude for the opportunity to realize this now, and hope to take it with me as I go forward.