Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Lost and Found




When we moved to Ohio we stopped in Utah for a couple weeks.  One of our tasks was to clean out all our stuff we left behind in my in-laws basement shortly before we got married and moved away 9 years ago.  The thing is some of the stuff we put in storage there was simply being moved from my dad's basement to our in-laws basement--which means a lot of this stuff has been sorta hidden for 15+ years.  Yesterday I unearthed a Miggy time-capsule of sorts--my high school Birkenstocks (totes back in style--high fives younger me), a small stack of my favorites magazine ever, Sassy, old CD's including my Swing collection, a couple of Led Zeppelin vinyls, some of my grandmothers vintage dresses, and a couple boxes of old letters, pictures, cards, etc.

Seeing all this old stuff brought up so many different thoughts and questions to my mind.  First, there was a sense of pride in seeing that my 18 year old self decided to keep my Birkenstocks as if I knew they'd make a comeback.  I tried for a long time in college to shed my 'hippie' roots, but it seems like I could never fully shake it.  You can take the girl out of Colorado, but... Additionally I loved Sassy magazine and still think it was the best teen publication of it's kind.  If you were familiar with Sassy then you know, it was the alternative to all the stupid, pandering magazines telling girls how to dress and flirt sin order to land the man of your dreams.  I still remember Sassy publishing articles like "America's Farmers are Disappearing and Why You Should Care" or something of the like.   Not that Sassy didn't like make-up and fashion as much as the next magazine, they were just much more genuine about it.  Additionally they really opened up the definition of beauty by featuring models who truly broadened the stereotypical definition of beauty.  This was definitely a conscious decision as I often remember friends talking about the "Sassy models" and how unique they were.  "You could be a Sassy model" was high praise in my circle and I appreciated that as a girl who felt good about her looks, but didn't consider herself 'pretty' in the classic sense.  OK--it's clear I have a lot to say about Sassy!

But some other things I unearthed were letters and old pictures--some of them old love letters and pictures from guys who are not my husband--ha!  I haven't really gone through that stuff much yet, but I suppose I will at some point.  I know a lot of people have mixed feelings on this type of thing.  I know some women who have thrown away every letter from a guy who was not her husband, while others--like myself--hold onto old letters and pictures because for me I view it as an important part of my history.  Those experiences and specifically the people who have come in and out of my life all played a part in making me, me.  Plus letters?  Actual, hand written letters... there's something wonderful about having boxes of words people wrote just for you.

Lastly I think about sentimentality and the desire we sometimes have to hold onto certain parts of our past.  I mean I hadn't seen this stuff in probably 15+ years... I didn't even remember that I had held onto all of these things, and likely wouldn't have missed any of it too much if I had never seen it again.  But opening up a box of old relics feels like a opening a present from my past self.  I do not want to be a pack-rat, and I try to go through things regularly to purge and clean out, but somethings are worth holding onto in my opinion.  Led Zeppelin on vinyl?  Timeless.  My grandma's dresses from the 1940's and 1950's?  Amazing!  Additionally, I love that I have these old shoes, magazines and letters from my past.  History--personal or otherwise--is important.

I'm so curious to hear your thoughts about all this--do you have a box (or 2 or 3) with pieces of your past?  Is it a comfort thing?  Is it for happy or sad reminders?  Both?  What about letters--especially 
"love" letters--do you hold onto them, why?  If so what does your spouse/significant other think of this?  If not, why did you get rid of them?  Do you ever wish you hadn't?  Lastly, do you ever marvel at the person you were vs. the person you are now?  Do you still see the essentially the same person or is your old self hardly recognizable to your current self?  For better or for worse, I think I still see a lot of 18-year-old-me in almost-38-year-old-me.  I'm cool with that.  I liked that girl.  

2 comments:

  1. I'm glad I'm not the only one that still has boxes of stuff from Jr. high/High school sitting in my parents' basement! I was such a hippie then too and still have my birkenstocks :) My 36-year old self thinks it's fun to look through stuff and remember those times. I still have photos and letters from old boyfriends and I'm fine with it and my husband is fine with it. In fact, he has always stayed close to his group of friends from high school, including his high school girlfriend and just from interacting with her at Christmas parties, BBQ's we have actually become good friends and hiking buddies. Funny, huh! Oh, and I still do my old college boyfriend's taxes so we're even, ha ha! Neither of us have a jealous bone in our body so it works!

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  2. By all means keep those old love letters! My then-boyfriend wrote me a letter every one of the 100 days I was in Spain on a college exchange program. Our jobs took us to opposite sides of the country and we lost touch for twenty years. We have now been married 14 years, and those letters come out of the hope chest every few years and we have a great old trip down memory lane. Yay college boyfriend!

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