This morning, in fact just a short while ago, I threw my past away.
Three years of my past away to be precise.
It had been neatly (well kind of) stored in my cellar.
In this box .
Hundreds of thousands of words, hundreds of diagrams, a plethora of articles, notes too numerous count.
Now being recycled or at least in the waiting room of recycling (the green bin).
I kept hold of them because
1.They may have come in handy.
2. They showed how much work I put in.
3. They were a physical copy of three years study.
4. I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away.
But now I have. No pieces kept for sentimental purposes. Just an empty box where my degree once lay. For interested parties to rifle through and select nuggets of wisdom. I once thought my children may find them useful but that idea long faded. I have said on several occasions that despite self publishing six books, My children have never had any desire to read any of my work. I realised a few years ago that my work counts for very little with those who are still forging their own paths in life.
I ended up with a respectable 2:1. A BSc Hons in Wildlife Management and Conservation from Leeds Metropolitan University. In truth the study took place at Park Lane College in Leeds which is now Leeds City College. Indeed I believe the University is called Leeds Beckett University. Is nothing the same ?
I enjoyed my three years of study immensely. I came to university late in life and threw myself in with comparative abandon. Those were good years although the final one was more of a slog than the first two. A not uncommon experience in higher education.
I finished my degree and believed that the world of conservation or land management lay in wait for my skills and knowledge. The world of conservation particularly land management is being squeezed and shrunk because of central government cuts. Private companies use very small workforces and organisations such as the RSPB and National Trust have also felt the pinch. My completion also coincided with a life threatening illness to one of my children and then my own treatment for cancer a year later. It slipped away. I have kept my hand in although less so nowadays. I still do ecological surveys in summertime and volunteer when possible with the countryside service in Bradford.
I have worked in films and television with the civil service, in the employment service (also civil service), trained as a psychiatric nurse and worked win mental health for 15 years. These are my past. I have added my degree to that list as well. As I said in a previous post , I believe you have to be defined by what you do not what you were. They tell a story. I write because I enjoy writing. A few people also enjoy my writing and even pay for it! I don’t write because I get paid, I write because I want to.
It will feel liberating to have a space on a shelf where thousands of pieces of paper once sat. I have let them go. I still have electronic copies of my work and if ever anyone is desperate to want any, it’s there. I may return to study one day in the future. History of Art or English Literature both appeal. Study for study’s sake. So many go to university with a career outcome in mind. My adult life has taught me that however many plans you make, life takes over. This box of papers should be the beginning of a de cluttering process. To rid myself of useless history. It may help in a tiny way to live more in the now than the past.