Monday, August 27, 2012

Good-bye, Old Friend

When I left for the Peace Corps, I took two suitcases and a backpack with me, a total of 42 pounds of clothes, books, shoes, photos, good luck charms, and other knick-knacks important to a full and happy life. That was to last me two years and three months during which time, Peace Corps told us ominously, we should not count on buying anything we needed except food.

Ha! The United States government underestimated both the development status of Costa Rica and my ability to find items to buy. Still, I was prepared to not add anything non-disposable to my life for two years, so I only took clothes I absolutely loved. There simply wasn't room for a skirt I might wear sometime, or the shirt with the marginal color. 

In the (whoa!) 43 years since that original power-packing I've learned to acquire clothes (hello, online shopping!) but I haven't quite mastered the art of closing the acquisition circle: I have a hard time disposing of them at the end of their useful lives.

When I have a piece of clothing that I love, I wear it over and over. That red-patterned skirt that falls just right. The v-neck that fits perfectly.

Clothes with sentimental attachment are even harder to move along. The tapestry vest my mom made me a couple of decades ago. The extra-soft T-shirt I wiped my eyes on when first Boy moved to college. The sweater I wore in my senior pictures. (No, I am not kidding.)

Saturday I had one of those rare days when I was in a mood to clean out stuff. My stubbornness in getting up EVERY SINGLE MORNING to ride the exercise bike has paid off in a fair amount of clothing that no longer fits. That means I can't justify the overstuffed closet, so I discarded with happy abandon. 

A few things I didn't mind getting rid of. Good-bye, stupid tiered peasant skirt that I wore even though I hated you. Farewell to you, shirt that I got for next to nothing but was always too deeply cut for this old lady's comfort. But oh, I will miss the tickle of that red skirt at just the right spot above my ankles.

I know I can get along quite well with only 42 pounds of stuff, and I'll be happier if I don't have to paw through a stuffed-full closet to get to this useful 42 pounds. The three garbage bags of give-away clothes now sit on the landing, waiting their trip to Goodwill. 

Good-bye, red skirt, you were a faithful friend. Maybe some day my senior picture sweater will join you. 

Or maybe not. I wouldn't want to be too hasty.

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