Bye Bye, Big Bird!
We're making hard decisions about downsizing, coming face to face with the reality of long term storage, things we think we can't live without, and all that childhood stuff in the closet.
Being type-A has its advantages.
It allows to you to make complicated tasks into list format and then provide the immense satisfaction to cross that shit off. YES!
When Chris and I decided to go #TINY, buy our 22 ft. Airstream (#DollyTheAirstream), sell all our stuff and hit the road, list making became the top priority. It’s the only way my brain could process the vast amount of things that needed to get done and in what order.
On said list was a line item to clean out my office closet. Seems easy enough, right? Until, I opened an old box filled with childhood memorabilia and came face-to-face with Big Bird, Gonzo and Thumby. Who are these shady characters? They were my best friends from 35 years ago. The trio that kept me sane and kept my secrets. I lugged them from Lego wars to Barbie dream houses. On planes and to campgrounds. I balked when anyone wanted to wash them and I cried when Big Bird’s eyes started to rub off. WAS HE BLIND NOW???
When I saw them after all these years I immediately thought, naturally, I have to add them to the long-term storage pile and keep them in items “I can’t live without”. At the exact same moment, in the back of my mind something (40-year-old-cut-the-crap-Amanda) said “but why?”
What in the world are you going to do with 35-year-old stuffed animals?
Be cremated with them?
Donate them to charity?
Bequeath them to your non-existent children?
Nope. So, why? Why hang on to them?
The answer is, you don’t. I don’t.
In her amazing book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, Marie Kondō writes:
“The process of assessing how you feel about the things you own, identifying those that have fulfilled their purpose, expressing your gratitude, and bidding them farewell, is really about examining your inner self, a rite of passage to a new life.”
Clearing out the clutter and deciding to keep what really matters puts musty, old stuffed animals in perspective. It means that you can love them, remember what they added to your life, take a picture, store it in the cloud (what is that place anyway?), and LET IT (them) GO.
God, what a lesson!
My memories live in me and there is no limit to my storage capacity.
I don’t have to pay to keep them somewhere. I don’t have to pay to have them insured. I don’t need to cart them from apartment to house to RV to…wherever and whatever is next. Not to mention, I can get them out of storage (my big brain) any old time I want to.
All the things I have carted around in an attempt to never forget a moment, a feeling, a lesson are not attached to something physical. They live in me. I liken it to when I hear the Foreigner song “I want to know what love is”. It takes me right back to the moment I heard that song on Miami Vice (purest alert: the television show/not the movie) and decided I wanted to be in love in a BIG, BIG way. Just like Crocket and Tubbs. I feel it the same exact way I did 30 years ago, profoundly and deeply and immediately. It’s the same experience when I smell dill. I immediately miss my Mom and being in the kitchen with her every summer, sitting on the counter in my Wonder Woman under- roos watching her can seemingly hundreds of thousands of pickles.
The lesson was real and so was my resolve. It was time to re-evaluate all the shit I have carried for 40 years (physically and mentally and emotionally) and allow myself the freedom to love it and let it go.
Up next, high school yearbooks…I mean does anyone really care that I won the state debate championship my senior year or that I was a car-hop at Sonic? (No, we didn’t wear roller skates.) Well, I mean, do they? Do you?
So now, I will look fondly at that weird little trio in the photo and think of all the times I leaned on them, told them my deepest secrets and simply love them for sitting there silently and allowing me to grow up right in front of their worn-off-eyes.