I was recently cleaning out my closet, sorting through a pile of t-shirts I set aside last year. I hadn’t worn any of these tees in quite some time, but each time I cleared my closet of worn out or unwanted clothes, I could not part with them. Last year, I put them in a pile at the back of one of my shelves and said, “If I don’t disturb this pile for a whole year, then I need to get rid of these next summer.”
Again, this collection of t-shirts sat untouched for the remainder of the year. Having every intention of honoring my commitment, I looked through them one last time.
There was the “This Is Spinal Tap” anniversary t-shirt kindly given to me by a former client. Despite my love for the movie, an ill-fitting black t-shirt with the cast of Spinal Tap on the front just didn’t need to stay in my closet. Perhaps it would find love somewhere else.
Beneath that was the burgundy MGD t-shirt from 1998. Burgundy, MGD, 1998 — enough said! I couldn’t remember why this was even in my “hard-to-let-go” pile, but I suspect it had something to do with my vanity over getting too old to wear a beer brand.
At the bottom of the pile, I unearthed a t-shirt from my former employer, featuring what was at one time the company’s new logo. Now, I regularly tell my husband to chuck all of his logo polos, but this one has been around far longer than any of his. I absently mindedly began to fold it, and as I set it in the give-away pile, I had a flash of emotion that reminded me why it was still even here.
That t-shirt was like a necklace from an old boyfriend. I had had a hard time moving on from that job in the way that sometimes people have a hard time getting over broken relationships. Like many relationships that aren’t really about love at all, that job represented a time filled with good friendships, exciting work and accomplishment… the proverbial “right place at the right time” situation.
When I left full-time work to pursue a part-time career after having my children, I was shocked by how difficult it was for me to disassociate myself from my former life. I had always prided myself on my mature perspective that there was more to life than professional accomplishment. I was “above” judging people based on their employment. Yet, living without that kind of daily success at the office proved much more difficult for me than I had ever imagined.
What hurt even more was that others seemed to be moving on themselves. No one else seemed to have the same feelings I did.
I was finally able to let go of that t-shirt this year. And as I dropped it in the paper bag destined for the Salvation Army, I felt relief. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve felt that twinge of sadness for the old me. Mom was right… time heals all wounds (or at least most).
As for the pile, it is much smaller now. Pretty much the only thing that remains is my Puffalpalooza t-shirt from the mid-90s. How could I possibly get rid of that homage to children’s television pioneers Sid & Marty Krofft?