Shower Thoughts: Childhood relics

If you ever meet me in real life, you’ll see I am a little on the smaller side, “pint-sized” as I like to affectionately call myself. I am a whopping 5’ 1” in freedom units (just under 155 cm according to Google), and as such, for a lot of my life I’ve had “hand-me-ups”: My sibling and cousins have been taller than me for a while, and when they outgrow things, I’d occasionally get them passed down.

Of course, I’ve handed things around to them, too; I was, once upon a time, the tallest. There’s a fuzzy blue zip-up of my cousin’s, several pairs of slippers and various t-shirts from my high school that have made their way around my family.

My family’s been in what I like to call a “perpetual state of spring cleaning”: Whenever we have time, my mom and I like to look through old things to see what we have and then donate things that we either haven’t used in a long time or that my sister and I have outgrown, usually colorful pajama sets (we were big fans of “loudly patterned” clothes as kids, as many kids are) and the now-too-small socks and jeans. 

My favorite “small things” include my kindergarten t-shirt (a red and yellow t-shirt that was several sizes too big for me for years and that I finally fit when I was a middle schooler). There’s also a blue hat that matches my sibling’s pink one, which now sits atop her four foot something giraffe. Green yarn “vines” wrap around the circumference of the hat to connect little pink flowers, and colorful spots add additional pops of color. And how could I forget the collection of pink-y purple sun hats I’ve been wearing with pride since grade school?

The purple on the inside is just as bright as it was fresh out of the bag, but the pink has faded considerably from vibrant, hot flamingo to muted “baby shower” pink. My oldest hat in the collection, while surprisingly not the most faded (all the hats are faded to roughly the same shade of that “sun-bleached brick” pink), has what I like to think is the most personality – it’s got two patches closing up holes, berry pink thread forming a sunflower-esque pattern, places where the thread is coming undone – you can tell it’s been well-loved.

Those items are the exception to the spring cleaning rule; most of my things have been given away, while they’re still in good condition so that other people can use them. It’s a little bittersweet to let go of things you had such fond memories with and loved so dearly, but it is certainly the right thing to do for the sake of a second life for them. Perhaps, I too receive a “second life” when I donate these items.

Letting go of my attachment to a physical thing frees up space to focus on other things like connecting with my loved ones and turning that energy inwards with self reflection. While there are times I have brief moments of regret because those items were very precious to me, knowing that they are better off if they can pass through more hands and that someone else will have the chance to make fond memories with them leaves me feeling assured in my decision; those physical objects fade to intangible memories.

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