DeanI recently cleaned out my room. Now, I know that doesn’t sound particularly interesting. OK, I know it doesn’t sound interesting at all. However, I promise that this is going to turn into a deep metaphor with meaning.

As I was cleaning my room, I realized that a lot of the stuff I had, I didn’t need and didn’t use anymore. So I got rid of a lot of stuff — and I’m a pack rat, so it was pretty hard for me. After I cleaned off all my shelves and pushed the big pile of junk out of my room, I saw how much room I had left on my shelves. It was not just room for new junk to settle into but empty space to save for my future.

Obviously I couldn’t have taken all that stuff with me as I moved on with my life. I can’t take every bit of the past with me to college. I’ll only want to keep the things that are truly important to me. But it wasn’t until I really cleaned out all the unimportant stuff that I realized how much I had accumulated that I didn’t even remember I still had.

Some things just take up space. I didn’t even know that I had so much stuff from the past that was simply taking up room. Junk from the past serves no other purpose. If it’s not important, it’s just taking up space.

The beginning of my new life is starting. I’ll hold on to a few things and let go of everything else. The things I let go of don’t matter. How can they matter when I couldn’t even remember that I had them? If I didn’t notice that I had them, then it’s impossible for me to miss them when they’re gone.

This taught me two things about moving forward with my life.

The first thing is that letting go of things is OK. I always felt bad drifting apart from people or giving up activities. But if I’m keeping things around just because I don’t want to let them go, then that’s just weighing me down and taking up space that could be filled with something else.

Why hold on to something if giving it away might help someone else? Cleaning out my shelves might fill someone else’s empty shelves. And that’s better than sitting in a drawer collecting dust. Letting go is OK. I don’t have to keep things around just to take up space. It’s OK to have an empty shelf for a little bit. It’ll all fill up again.

The second thing I learned is to hold on to things that matter. To keep trying to mend friendships or making time for things that matter to me, because those are the things that are important to me. The important things are worth working for and holding on to and will stay with me forever. I might not hold on to a lot of things, but it doesn’t matter. All that matters is that they matter to me.

So I kept my promise. You got a story about cleaning my room that ended in a deep metaphor. It really did make me think about the things that matter and what I want to keep around for a while longer.

Perrin Dean is a senior at Wilsonville High School. She is contributing a regular column to the Spokesman this school year.

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