Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. ~ The Wonder Years
Shifting through boxes in my storage room as I prepare to get a head start on some serious cleaning, I notice a small box that I didn’t recall placing in the garage, snuggled in between a box of my daughter’s box of first year clothing and some of my husband’s old sporting gear.
I moved a few items over, made sure there were no scary little creatures hiding between boxes on the ground (you just never know…) and then pulled out the mysterious box.
I walked over to a more comfortable spot in the garage (and in comfortable I mean an area that isn’t taken over by boxes, toys, and other paraphernalia), sat on one of my porch chairs that we have yet to place back on the front porch, and carefully opened the box just in case they contained something of significant value.
To my surprise, the first thing that popped out at me was one of my high school yearbooks. I took it out and flipped through the pages, smiling and laughing at memorable photographs and hand-written notes that were sprawled all over each page and even on the covers.
I winced at a questionable photograph of me and my hair and makeup (um, what was I thinking with the chunky blonde highlights and dark red lipstick? And no, no, no, NO to those eyebrows…) and winced even more at the boy standing next to me in the photograph.
Oh this must have been during a pep rally.
Oh boy. I can’t believe I had a little crush on this guy. Totally NOT attractive…I wonder what he looks like now.
*Resists the urge to search Facebook on my phone*
Along with the yearbook were some photographs — some of me solo, some of me with old friends, some of just friends.
Also notes, some CD’s and mix-tapes that were created for every mood and special occasions (remember those?), a couple of old Teen Beat and Bop Magazines,
small little gifts like a silk scarf that was given to me from a friend graduating year, empty bottles of favourite perfumes (Clinique Happy, CKOne and a variety of travel-sized The Body Shop and Gap fragrances), and a cute bear with one eye missing that I remember was given to me from a guy I dated for about 3 months.
I remember I kept the bear because of the memory.
Prior to dating, I had the biggest crush on him for many years until he actually asked me out only for me to realize 3 months in, he was opposite of what I thought he was.
I envisioned him to be kind and studious.
He was in every sports team and seemed to get along with most people including teachers so I assumed that’s what he would be like.
Instead he was conceited and sometimes rude (not to me, to others).
He may have been handsome, but he was completely full of himself.
A guy that spends more time looking in a mirror than I do or talks more about him is certain to buy himself a ticket to DUMPSVILLE.
The bear was cherished because it reminded me that not everything that glistens is gold.
And I remember he gave it to me genuinely smitten. That I can take with me.
One of the letters in the box was written to me from one of my best friends in elementary and high school. It was written to me during one of those rough adolescent moments and it had meant so much to me at the time.
Your closest friends knew so much about you and always knew the right things to say (or write) to make you feel better.
What made me a little more sentimental reading these old letters and notes was knowing that some of these friends were no longer an active part of my life.
Some have moved far away to start a new journey for themselves, some not too far but have sadly lost touch throughout the years, and some are still here and will always be here but life just got in the way and just making time to meet for coffee has become somewhat of a challenge.
I wiped a couple of tears and then gently closed the box again.
Sealing it once again with tape, it felt somewhat emblematic.
Like closing a part of me that once meant so much at one point in my life and placing it carefully among the new boxes of items that have preoccupied my space and fills my life (my family, my work, my current passions). Yet it still lingers and holds a special place forever.
Taking out a permanent marker, I wrote down on the front of the special little box:
Box of Memories.
And underneath it: VALUABLE.
When I got back inside the house, I headed to the kitchen to grab myself a cold drink. I could see the kids out in the backyard with my husband, laughing and having such a great time.
I can’t help but be filled with an overwhelming sense of pride and joy seeing my family.
So this is where I am now.
15 years ago, I never would have pictured myself married with two kids, working from home, living in the same city and not too far from my parents.
I pictured myself busy with my career as either an Interior Designer to the rich and famous or head of my own independent marketing business, living in the city in one of those awesome penthouses with a view complete with a cute puppy and an equally cute boyfriend (or fiancé).
Well, I achieved about 2 of those (cute hubby + I use to live in gorgeous penthouse although uptown) and although my career went into a different direction, I’d like to think I’ve had a pretty successful track record.
Looking through and reminiscing on old memories also made me realize how far I’ve come in my life which outweighs every single tear, roadblock or regret I may have felt at some point in my jaunt to discovery — a journey that I’m still on but in a much more peaceful and content state of being.
I wouldn’t change a thing.
Although it would be nice to reconnect… friendships are a cherished gem.
Hold on tightly to the ones that matter.
My phone suddenly vibrates.
I decided not to check it and placed it on the bookshelf in my living room before heading outside to spend time with my family.
You have one new text.
Hey Carol! It’s been ages since we’ve seen each other. How are you?
I’m in town in a couple of weeks to visit my parents and I wanted to know if you wanted to get togetherfor coffee or dinner? Maybe some froyo? I know how much you loved froyo!
Miss yah and hope you and the family are all well!
Talk to you soon.