Sometimes I have favorite shirts.
Not the nice, put-on-to-get-ready-in-the-morning shirts, though. Sometimes I have favorite big t-shirts or tank tops that are too comfy not to wear if I’m just lounging in my house or have to run a couple errands. Right now, it’s a big white volunteer shirt with a red lifeguard symbol on the back. (I was never a lifeguard, but it reminds me of the beach, maybe that’s why I like it?)
I’ve worn this shirt nearly every night this week. I’ve even had time to wash it in between days. But when I went to put it on today, I felt bad that I was wearing this shirt again. As if my family would get bored of me wearing the same shirt everyday. As if I should let my other shirts get a turn. My mom did comment on my shirt after I went down for dinner, just like I thought.
Then I realized: “why am I feeling bad about wearing a shirt everyday, when there are children in the world without clothes?”
It’s the little things that get us. I lived with three pajama shirts when I was abroad in Spain. I would wear the same shirt every night to sleep. That wasn’t a problem, it was normal. It was the way of life in my Spain home–not just for me, but for my host family as well.
Why am I more aware and distracted by clothing now? And why do I feel bad about certain things I do or don’t have in my closet? Or certain things I want to do or wear?
Today I started cleaning out my drawers and I started cleaning out the attic. I found notebooks from kindergarten, a box full of my rock collection, stuffed animals and other treasures from my weird but fun childhood. I began with the mentality to downsize and I did. But I also ended feeling full of memories and rediscovery. Of myself and my life.
These are the things to hold on to. These are the things that make us warm. That we carry with us everyday: the memories of our family, our education, and our wellbeing. It’s not about the stuff. It’s not about how many clothes we own or wear.
Yesterday, I watched an inspiring Ted Talk by Shelene Bryan about being uncomfortable and facing poverty head on. She shared her stories about going to Africa and the kids she sponsors there, all in an authentic, real conversation. I’m excited to read her new book, Love Skip Jump, sometime soon.
This is only the beginning of an adventure–an adventure through minimalism and appreciating what we have and what we can give. Are you with me on this journey? How are you going to give what you have to others? I’m starting with cleaning out my possessions and evaluating what I truly need. On the top of that list? Love.