Someone was talking about dealing with their past in the present the other day. I responded, "I lost my past in my present." They then suggested that this might be a little bit of a relief. I hadn't really thought of it that way.
Sentimentality can also be an obsession with one's past. And I think sometimes that obsession comes at a cost of failure to focus enough on the present. That pair of jeans that hangs in every woman's closet that she is dying to fit into one day. The letters from an ex-boyfriend. The wedding dress that you just can't part with even though you know you won't ever wear it again. We look at those things and we long for days past... and it's a futile battle.
I think of all the things that were destroyed in that fire and with some of those things I think, "I'm free." I'm free of their burden. I'm free of the emotions that they evoked in me. I'm free of their hauntings. I can never again open that box and unexpectedly find a letter that makes me cry or scream in anger. I have to be consciously trying to invoke that memory, and by doing it consciously, I am better prepared for those emotions.
I guess it is a relief to be free of the past. While I believe that people can make changes at any time they choose to do so, I have been given an opportunity to really make changes on a grand scale... because I am no longer tied to the burden of my past.