I have a new passport.
I know, it's a tedious administrative necessity, getting a new passport. Get the photograph (no glasses, definitely no smiling - not even a twitch of the lips to suggest there might be anything comic in standing in front of grey paper with all your wrinkles on show). Fill in the wretched form. Take it to the post office where someone takes delight in checking every box, making you feel like a five-year old taking your lessons to teacher. Will you get a tick or a Big Red Cross?
Off it goes. With the old one (evidence, apparently, that I'm a real person). Trouble is, I've grown rather attached to the old one. It's battered, with crinkly corners. And almost every page is crammed with visa forms and immigration stamps and disembarkation stamps and illegible stamps that could be anything. Evidence that I really have been to all those places, done all those things. Three stamps for Nepal; three for Cambodia; three for Singapore. Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia. Several trips to America - for work, and to see friends as well as the road trips. A trip to Venezuela when a daughter lived there.
Sometimes it all feels a bit unreal - as if it was someone else did all those things, while I sat in my lovely Wiltshire garden and tended the daffodils. Then I'd pick up the old passport, and drool over memories. Yes - that really was me, did all that.
And now - I have a new passport. The old one has been returned to me - so I can still pick it up, rub my thumb across the faded crest on the front, peer at visas and blurred stamps that take me straight back to the pristine airport in Singapore, or the chaos of the land border between Nepal and India.
The new one - with its e-chip and strange pixellated photo, smells too new. The pages are too crisp - and empty. It's crest is too bright, the motif legible. It taunts me with its newness - think you are a traveller, it says, and you've been nowhere. In time it will become an opportuntiy. But today it is just Too New.
So - I hadn't realised how much my passport matters to me.
What do you have that is aging, and comfortable, and part of your story? How will you manage when it no longer functions and you have to get a new one?