My cellphone, which I have had for a long time, had a few personalized text message folders that held messages from relationships (Yes, that was a relationship in my books) that had failed. Every once in a while I would go through them, reading all those messages again; some good, some that still hurt and some just purely painful. Then one day I came across a secret on postsecret.com. It said: My cellphone is a graveyard of failed relationships. I identified with it immediately and realized I was hanging on to ghosts. What good were those memories to me now? They only reminded me of the past every time I read them. But I still didn’t have the heart to delete them, until, a few days ago, my cellphone refused to open any applications unless I deleted some data. I took a deep breath and swiftly deleted all those folders (and hence more than 1200 texts). It felt good not having reminders of mistakes made, opportunities missed and words and deeds that broke hearts.
Today I was going through one of my message inboxes on a certain social networking site and I came across some messages in there which jolted me and reminded me of a few good times and some bad too. I thought of deleting them but why had I hung on to them for so long, wasn’t there a reason? And I wondered: Why are we so eager to destroy evidence of the past if that is what made us what we are today? On one hand if we hang on to reminders of that time we can’t stop ourselves from feeling at least a twinge of sadness or pain when we stumble across one by accident. On the other, if we get rid of them, do we forget the past and if so, aren’t we condemned to repeat it? Purge yourself of the past, we are told. Let it go. Forgive and forget. There is no point hanging on to it. Or is there? It is from the mistakes we want to erase that we learn what to and what not to do, we learn what works for us, those misakes help us realize what we want and what we don’t from life, relationships and people. It is a huge part of growing up and becoming stronger and wiser, and being shaped into the person you are today. I’d say forget the past if you want to—but only if you don’t forget the lesson.