“This is trash.”

A friend was helping me pack for my move to a new apartment and I felt it was his comment for everything: “this is trash.” Each time he said that I would make a dramatically audible gasp, grab the item, hold it close to my chest, and share the story of how I acquired this truly special item. There was a melted candle that had been used at a sisterhood program I facilitated about five years ago. But it symbolized the love that existed in that moment when the girls looked around and talked about the importance of helping other people’s candles burn bright. There was a pair of sunglasses, too small for my head, that my father gave me in middle school when he returned from a business trip. There was a red string with a paperclip on it was from a program I attended in high school. The string was worn down to nothing and the paperclip was a bit off color, but it reminded me of the day we watched the documentary Paper Clips. There were the charms from a bracelet that had broken three years ago but said, “Let Go of Yesterday, Work on Today, Dream of Tomorrow.” And I had worn the bracelet every day for a year when I was struggling to be me in the environment I had been in.

At one point, he leaned over, touched my head, and sweetly said… “These are memories, Danielle, they should exist up here.”

And even though I struggled with gently placing SOME of these items in the trash, I knew he was correct. It wasn’t the items that were special to me, it was the times they reminded me of. It’s the lessons I learned from each of those moments and who I chose to be in that moment. They had served their time and helped me get to this point in my life today. And clearing some of them away has created space for me to collect new special moments, new lessons, and new memories.

Are there items in your life that are reminding you of the person you once were, opposed to the person you want to become?



Danielle Aaronson

Danielle Aaronson

Danielle’s mission is to inspire leaders to make intentional choices that move them to positive action. She speaks at conferences, management summits, and leadership programs as well as facilitates efforts with executives and senior leaders at organizations seeking to influence their culture. Her mantra, “be the change you wish to see in the world” has allowed her to strive every day to be the best she can be and help others recognize the potential they have to make a positive difference. @deaaronson

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