Admittedly, cleaning out my freezer was a little bit inspired by the Marie Kondo craze which was reinvigorated by her recent Netflix series. The other inspiration was the fact that I couldn’t go to Costco anymore because my freezer was bursting at the seams. Literally. To the point where I had to install a little babylock to keep the freezer door from popping open on its own. (I had originally bought the babylocks to keep my cupboards from springing open during an earthquake and having all my plates end up in shards on the floor — another story altogether.)

The real reason underlying my reluctance to clear out my freezer was a simple denial that my life hadn’t unfolded the way that I had wanted, when I moved to this city 3+ years ago. Yes, you may wonder what on earth my expired freezer contents would have to do with my life trajectory, but there’s actually a little bit of logic, however twisted, here. If you stay with me, you’ll understand in 2 minutes.

I moved here to get a fresh start from my life in my previous city, for a wide range of reasons, many of them the usual suspects. And it was indeed refreshing to “start over” — ranging from buying all new furniture, colorful cushions, and cute wall hangings for my apartment, to creating a mostly new professional and personal network (and renewing previous acquaintances whom I hadn’t really connected with in years). Going from being shamed about not following politics and current global affairs, to being shamed for not recognizing the names of tech founders, CEOs, and unicorns. (Yes, people always find some way to make you feel dumb about something. But good news — now I can shame people here for not following politics and current affairs.) Going from being one of the few Asians in the congregation, and feeling like a complete alien, to one of many, many, many. Lots of interesting changes.

One of the first things that I did when I moved into my apartment, was to stock my fridge and freezer. In terms of my freezer, I bought a lot of frozen party food/ hors d’oeuvres from Trader Joe’s. You know, the kind that you can whip out when you have guests over and stick in the oven for 15 minutes. Mushroom turnovers. Stuff like that. And of course, the underlying presumption is that I’d have guests over frequently and be social… Then, 2 years… and then 2.5… and then 3… and then 3.5 years later, I’m looking through my overstuffed freezer and finding the very same items… and finding myself utterly unable to throw them out. So I just ignore them, even though they are completely freezer-burned, covered in ice, and inedible. And what I’m really suppressing is the fact that I never actually had that many people over, to occasion consuming these items. [Also, I plain forgot I had bought them, so there’s also that problem.] And these items were a painful reminder that so much time had already passed since I had moved here, and it felt almost like yesterday that I had purchased them. And then finally throwing them out was part of the grieving process — acceptance — that life hadn’t really unfolded the way I had hoped with my “fresh start.” And that I’m well beyond the “fresh start” phase of my time here in this city. Throwing out these items seemed to be admitting that I had expended another 3 years of my life, in trying to accomplish my life goals.

I often feel as though I’m the Bill Murray character in the movie Groundhog Day. But the most unfair part is when I wake up, I’m one day older, “one day closer to dying” — the lyric from the song “At the End of the Day,” from Les Miserables. But Bill Murray’s character is the same age every day. Who knows how many iterations of Groundhog Day he lived through… he gathered all that wisdom, and when the Fates finally allowed him to move onto February 3rd, he still had the rest of his life before him to live the “right” way with the wisdom he had accrued. I suppose from a Christian perspective, we have our entire lives in Eternity to have our happy endings, but that feels like cold comfort!

Regardless of the reluctance to face mortality, the long and short of it is that I bit the bullet and tossed out the old junk in my freezer tonight. I will relish in this small victory of finally being able to admit defeat.