Do I need an 11x14 framed photo of my high school boyfriend? Maybe I can find his mom and give it to her! What about my pom pons circa 1993? They’re green and white (West Bloomfield Lakers and Michigan State colors), and I went to Michigan so unless they’re maize and blue, I’m thinking I pitch ‘em. But the box of blurry camp photos from 1986 and the photo evidence of parties I threw at my parents’ home in 1994 with my girlfriends dancing on the fireplace ledge, they’re keepers!
These are the major life decisions I’m set to make two weeks from now when I head to Michigan for a visit and leave with much of my childhood crap in tow -- my parents are on the verge of moving out of my childhood home.
While I’m grateful to have evidence of my history, we’re always preaching that experiences and not things are what really matter. The time, the adventures, the memories are what count. But without the childhood crap, how on earth are we to remember it all? Maybe I need to keep some of this stuff?
To Keep Or Not to Keep, That Is the Question
I know I’m blessed and I’m still beyond grateful to have had a great childhood with trips and family adventures, and the “things” that made me happy and sometimes even contributed to my confidence. Thank you, mom and dad, for the brown bomber jacket that was a must-have in 1989. But is it a must-have in 2019 because I’m pretty sure it’s still hanging in the basement! Now I know that the jacket should go – if it hasn’t already as my mom purges – but the rest of the stuff is exciting and ridiculous and emotional and weird and funny and sad all at the same time. That’s a lot of emotions.
As Marie Kondo tells everyone to pitch what doesn’t spark joy, how on earth can she expect us to wander down memory lane or show our kids embarrassing things that make us laugh and put our history in perspective for them? My daughter still prances around my parents’ house in a bubble-gum pink taffeta, bubble-skirted, puffy-sleeve dress I wore to my bat mitzvah because it still hangs in my closet there – and she even dons the dyed-to-match pink, high-heeled shoes!
We belly laugh every time she does it, so I guess I’m saying yes to the dress. Those belly laughs are invaluable, they are so incredibly healthy for us, and I’m grateful every time we’re lucky enough to laugh that hard – we laugh our asses off every time! Also, I can’t wait to put it on her when she’s actually 13.
What I’m saying is that while I love to purge with the best of ‘em, and I expect to do a fair amount of that on one of my final (not THE final) voyage to my parents’ house, some of my crap will live to see another day. I’m grateful my parents never had much use for the basement after my brother and I were out because my high school varsity jacket is as pristine as the day I got it my junior year. As you can see here, it’s already made the move to Illinois and sparks a lot more than joy. It makes me laugh, makes me feel gratitude for my upbringing, makes me remember people who I shared that phase of life with and makes me grateful for my own basement storage room (insert my hubby’s eye roll here).
I’m not saying to fill your life (or storage room) with things from your past, but before those things get tossed in the charity pile, take a moment to see if any of it sparks gratitude. Marie Kondo wants you to feel joy, but I say gratitude because with a grateful heart you’ll feel joy. It’s a magic combination!
How many of you have a cherished childhood item that sparks gratitude -- or laughs? Show us!
And follow me on Facebook, please! We always have some gratitude-inspiring fun there.
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