The new year often brings with it feelings of empowerment and the desire to start fresh. While some choose to stock up on nicotine gum, join the gym or book a trip to an exotic location; some try to pick up the pieces of a broken heart.For many, the beginning of a new year marks the end of a serious relationship and so begins a difficult task, the purging of things that remind you of an ex-lover. Naturally there are logistics to consider after a huge break up: old gifts to dispose of, pictures to burn, songs to avoid and anniversaries to forget, all of which, for many, is difficult to do.

“I know I still have an old shoebox filled with stuff from a previous relationship,” said Michelle Wong, 19. “It’s a bunch of pictures and ticket stubs from places we went to. We were together for almost four years. It’s been over a year since we broke up and even though I’m dating other people I can’t bring myself to throw it away. I guess I still feel like one day we’ll get to be friends,” she said.

What is it about disposing of sentimental objects that is so difficult? Is it that we have some miniscule idea that one day we will reconnect with past loves?

“I don’t think it’s that we hope to get back together, but I do believe it’s the whole idea that you’re throwing away a chunk of your life,” said Rachel Sandoval, 22. “When you’re with a person for a long time, you make plans for the future. When I broke up with my long time boyfriend all the plans we made just disappeared. Keeping all the stuff with sentimental value reminds you of the time when you were happy and hopeful, throwing it away almost means it was all for nothing,” said Sandoval.

So how do the men measure up in a breakup? Are women the only ones who hold on to reminders of what once was?

“I was a wreck when I broke up with my girlfriend,” said Jesus De Leon, 22. “We were high school sweethearts and school and work just started to get in the way. She wanted to go to an out of state school and I couldn’t leave my family. I kept the pictures and letters and some of her clothes for about eight months after we broke up, but eventually I put all the stuff in a box and sent it to her, not out of spite but for the sake of closure. She ended up sending me some of my stuff back with a letter thanking me for being the one to initiate it, we’re actually still friends,” said De Leon.

Others have left with a slightly more bitter taste after their relationship ended.

“I was cheated on!” said Joseph Lan, 20. “I found out through other people that my girlfriend was cheating on me. I ended it right away. I went through a period of time where I was just mad as hell and I threw all the stuff that had any memory of her away, birthday presents and all. But looking back I wish I hadn’t because there was a time when we were happy and I would’ve liked to have reminders to visit every now and then,” said Lan.

Though it may be difficult for most to move on after a relationship, keep in mind that with every new day, change and opportunity are possible.

So, for the new year enthusiast, look forward to exploring exciting venues and meeting new people. Let the end of every relationship be a learning experience that will better prepare you for future relationships.

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