Saturday, 23 July 2011


I've spent day going through old documents that are like a time line of my life before Twitter. So many scraps of paper! It started with a practical goal of sorting out tax documents. I knew the seven-year rule but still anxiety gripped me What if I need this later? I kept asking myself. I was too scared to let go. Traveling back in time can be jarring. It made me wonder why we hang onto the past so tightly. I was shocked at all the trivial things I hung onto. All had lost their importance over the years. The only thing I kept were old pieces I’d written. Because in writing, nothing is ever wasted. I can’t say the same for the old gas accounts and birthday cards from people who, sadly, I no longer remember.
I fed piles of paper into the shredder and listened to the sharp teeth tear my life on paper into pieces that could never be stuck together again. When I finished, I appreciated all the empty space in the filing cabinet. The weight of the past had shifted. Maybe the Australian Tax Department's seven-year rule should be applied to all aspects of life?  Maybe after seven years it’s time to work our way out of grudges and misery; take a different attitude; get a therapist if necessary, do the work. Get a mental shredder. Oh… and file the tax return.


  1. I need the seven-year rule to make sure I *keep* important things long enough. I love to donate and toss anything I don't need. I hate excess--which helps me as I edit. Haha. However, in writing I can bear some extra, never in my home. ;)

  2. Hi Lauren, That a rule for business under Australian tax law but given there's a theory that all our body cells change every seven years, there might be some *magic* in the number. Like your website, by the way. It’s great to connect with other writers and editors around the world!

  3. I'm enjoying your posts, Lucia - and I admire your discipline in writing in depth.

  4. Documents are very important, most especially when there's valued information on it. However, if the documents are no longer needed, still, shredding them would be wise because those information can be used for identity theft.