While I wandered through the entirety Target this afternoon, as I often do on a household errand (We need laundry soap? I’m going to Target and will be back in 2 hours), I quickly realized with the Junior’s clothing section I could completely replicate my 1997 wardrobe. They say fashion comes in cycles, and boy, they weren’t kidding.
Autumn is the best clothing season thanks to boots, scarves, and jackets. But today, I spurned my usual fall scarf hunt as I was just TOO darn excited to try to on three outfits very close to ones I wore in middle school.
When I tried these now-fashionable-again items on, it immediately became apparent I was twice the age and twice the size as I when I wore these fashions in the 90’s. Bummer.
Please no fat-shaming.
Hoodies and flannel=joy
Crop tops-not for F cups
With a choker necklace and some chunky boots, I’d be right at home again (but with stretch marks from childbearing).
I wore a drapey cotton t-shirt dress and jean jacket ensemble, much akin to Photo One, at my first.ever.rock concert: Bush, The Goo Goo Dolls and No Doubt.
(Dang, 1997 was a good year for music. Rock hadn’t quite died yet )
(And demin was still cute, not yet ruined by Justin and Britney )
For the second photo, I wore a black hoodie under a flannel shirt over light-washed jeans with holes in the knees. This was, honestly, how I dressed in the entirety of 1996….and 1997…and 1998, give or take a few rock band t-shirts or ‘baby doll tees.’ Add in some Vans and Photo Two is basically a uniform from my middle school days.
(1997 was a good year for school kids. We didn’t spend all of our days on our phones; we passed hand written notes and drew on each other’s shoes. )
In the third photo, I adorned myself with what I considered a highly risky piece for person over 30: a cropped, striped sweater with high-waisted jeans. Striped, tight sweaters were the bread and butter of every adolescent girl (well, those with my taste in clothing) from 1995-1999 or even later. It was not until the year 2000 when waists on jeans dropped to Christina and Britney-esque hip huggers and tight sweaters gave way for glittery tops.
Speaking of which, 1997 was a good year for glitter. Sparkle may not have yet adorned our shirts or skirts, but it certainly adorned our eyes, lips, cheeks, under eyes and yes, collar bones.
(I carried glitter gel in my purse. If it wasn’t glittery, I didn’t want it on my face)
Today’s trip through Target’s make-up aisles showed me that glitter on faces is back in fashion, although this time it’s more metallic and matte and less glitter and gloss.
Making America 1997 Again is well under way in our clothing and make-up aisles, and plenty of my fave musicians from the year are still making great music…
So what are some other ways we could Make America 1997 Again? I’ll have a think on it.
“You can be wrong and swear you’re right…some people been known to do it all their lives.”
But if something is wrong, does that mean it doesn’t exist? No.
Sometimes existence can be relative, too.
If you asked Professor McGonagall what non-being is, she’d tell you…. “Everything.” *
* (“Where do vanished objects go?” “Into non-being, which is to say, everything.” Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)
Here are some examples of times I’ve been wrong:
In a journal entry dated early 2008, I wrote:
“I am old. I am ancient. I am decrepit.
I am a 24 year old undergrad.
Ahhh, the humanity.
… I feel like I have been in college longer than that Stifler guy from American Pie must have been in high school. The fact that I am IN high school when American Pie came out shows how old I am.
Sooo, I went with my dear Lancaster-ians (my English friends from my English university) to the fall convocation and realized that the freshman class of CU this year was born in 1990!!
I wore my sunglasses and tried to hide my smile crinkles, and then was literally paraded with the freshman and study abroad students (oh, there may have been a few grad students and transfers in there but who can spot them with the blinding light of youth surrounding you) past a bunch of cheering, whooping, entirely too perfect looking sorority sisters.
Maybe I have some sort of mental issue going on here, but this campus is making me feel ancient….
Part of me wants to the join the mass of my fellow 2002 high school grads and start having babies. One precursory glance at myspace shows that a large portion of my high school cohorts have babies.
But then part of me wants to make the most of being (relatively) young and revel in my last year of college, even if I am the new Van Wilder (the mormon version lolol).”
Yes, I thought I was ancient at 24. Wrong.
Here is another time I was wrong, in 1997. I was 13:
I found this while doing all of my de-cluttering (see other posts). It was empty.
Making pro and con lists are always a sound choice, right?
Again, from 1997:
It’s a bit hard to read, but it’s a list comparing two boys named John and Glynn (wherever they may be, I doubt they are readers of my blog). One ‘good’ thing about John is that he is a ‘ghetto wannabe.’ But then again, Glynn would ‘make a better father.’ What did they share on the Bad List? ‘Wears hats.’
Needless to say, making this list was the Bad Choice here.
All kidding aside, how we perceive reality at any given moment is what’s ‘right,’ most of the time. I don’t want to go around in circles about moral absolutes or a lack of them (like murder), as that’s a topic for another day, but this is more about those of us who are ‘normal’ (functioning in society) and live out our lives in our own perceived reality.
I am one of the those people who finds meaning in everything. I’ve been that way since I was a child. I loved looking for ‘signs’ that I was on the right path, and I still look for those ‘God Winks’, or as some would say, coincidences. I love finding affirmation that the thing I believe is correct. And due to confirmation bias, our brains are pretty adept at doing this.
But it also means we can convince ourselves of untruths.
I’m not talking about a particular person or group of people or a set of beliefs. Because I think this just applies to everyone, as human beings.
I’m writing about this because I’ve been addressing my own mea culpaas of late. Maybe it’s just becoming an adult, I don’t know. But I am seeing places where I’ve been wrong, even if I would have bet my life I was right, at the time.
Part of my ever-progressing journey into Letting It Go is accepting the times and places where I was truly….wrong.
I had this one idea perpetuating in my head for years (well, I’ve had plenty of ideas perpetuating in my head for years) and then one day a friend of mine told me, bluntly:
How does one simply enter Mordor turn off an idea? It’s not easy. But once you accept it’s wrong, in some cases you really can
And some perceptions simply fade with time. When I was a teenager, I literally believed I could, if opportunity presented itself, marry JC Chasez from N Sync. My best and I manipulated our movements in certain ways at N Sync concerts (trying to get picked to dance on stage, waiting outside certain doors or hotels) , so utterly convinced we were that if we could just MEET THEM, Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez would love us. How could they not?!?!
My first year of college, at 18, I began realizing how silly this seemed as I was studying in my psychology class how the adolescent mind quite easily accepts grandiose ideas
I don’t ever want to lose my dreams, my ambitions, or most of all, my sense of self , which has been shaping itself ever since all of the quirky incidents I’ve mentioned.
But I want to remember that while perception is everything at the time, sometimes…there are times we are just plain wrong.
That’s me. The nostalgic hoarder. With all of my talk of simplifying, and my blogged endeavors at letting go, there remains one area where I am/was woefully cluttered.
‘My Memories’ I’ve called them, as my husband and I moved them from Colorado Springs to Boulder to Fargo to Moorhead and back to Fargo.
‘Make sure we don’t throw away any of my memories!’ I insist with every move and spring cleaning.
In this new, smaller apartment (thanks harassing neighbors who forced us to move), my ‘memories’ have nowhere to live but the garage. So I’ve been going through each box, one by one, over the past months and trying oh-so-hard to downsize.
My 10th grade Science folder? I finally put it in the bin, 15 years later. My NSYNC seat cushion from Mile High Stadium? Oh, that will be kept forever. A collector’s item, for sure.
Here are some of my weekend finds:
My favorite Sketchers, 2002-2004.
I don’t usually save old shoes, although these were a firm favorite mine. But I harbored them because they are The Shoes I wore when I met my now husband, Alex. I’ve saved the frayed jeans and blue velour hoodie I wore to the pub that fateful night, as well.
I’m a bit spacy, and excitable by nature. Back then, in late 2003 when I meet Alex, I was also still jet-lagged. So I don’t have a ton of memories of the event itself. My best friend Susan and I walked into the Edinburgh pub The Brass Monkey expecting to watch a movie, but ended up ordering Coca Colas and being teased by the barman in the black tshirt.
I can picture the way he grinned at me, and how he flirted. But somehow, looking at these shoes makes it seem more tangible, and brings back those feeling I had in the pub. I can remember how it felt to walk in those shoes.
So, I wondered yesterday. Should they stay or should they go?
This was, indeed, a tough one. In the end, they’ve stayed, and I tell myself maybe one day they’ll be…..vintage. For anyone who wants to know what a backpacking teenager wore in 2003.
Next, I tried to tackle my memory shoeboxes. Each shoebox equals one school year’s worth of ticket stubs, passed notes, concert confetti, and birthday cards. As I went through these (and I still have some to organize, admittedly), I found cards from people who I honestly can’t place. Into the garbage they went. I found old glowsticks, presumably from a concert. Binned. But I kept the concert confetti, and I kept every one of my notes, including those above: a small sample of one year in the life of Susan and Alana at Coronado High School.
The content of the notes is priceless. One of the notes contains apologies for tear stains. Most contain codewords and initials in an attempt to avoid interception by nosy parties. All include declarations of love for Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez and for each other, as BFFS and NFFs.
I’ll never toss these notes, and I’m so glad to have them. I wonder how today’s communication will be saved for the future? Snapchat is gone in a flash. The handwritten note ran the risk of falling into the wrong hands, but that was all part of the fun.
Next, I found a bittersweet look into my psyche, 2003…..
When I found this, I could have literally cried. Here I sit in Fargo, 12 years older and none the wiser, and I feel the choice has been made for me. It makes me feel foolish to think I sat, as a 19 year old with the world at my fingertips, and contemplated choosing NORTH DAKOTA over California for college.
No offense, North Dakota. But really.
In the end, my best friend Susan and I ended up going on a student work exchange to Scotland instead, and the rest is history.
But I don’t remember writing this list. I remember applying to both MSUM and Santa Monica College and getting into both. I remember thinking MSUM would be a safe adventure. Ultimately we choose the least safe option of all, moving to Scotland.
This list went into the trash pile, out of pure annoyance.
And what of my box full of college papers and exams? I’ve been lugging around the answer to Hume’s Fork for 13 years.
This too went straight into the garbage pile, mainly out of embarrassment I couldn’t possibly get an ‘A’ on the same exam today. Thanks, short-term memory. No, seriously. Thanks for getting me through college.
My more recent habit is keeping boarding passes, hotel maps, and other ‘memories’ in my carry on backpack. This means I’ve been hauling maps of London to Cancun, and have the correct walk-in massage information for Covent Garden on my person as I drive up to Winnipeg.
It’s not laziness; I think I just don’t want to let go of my most recent travels. They seem so immediate right there in my bag.
But I took the step and moved them to a memory box – but only the mementos which held meaning.
And then, finally. Photos.
Without this gem of a picture, I would never remember taking a swipe at a Britney Spears piñata (her crime: dating Justin Timberlake), nor would I remember the look of absolute glee on Susan’s face. I certainly wouldn’t have remembered wearing jeans up to my rib cage, and I doubt I would have been able to recall the on point way we all managed to look appropriately disdainful.
How could you, Britney? Justin was OURS. OURS, I tell you.
I don’t throw away old photographs. But I haven’t been amazing at organizing them and digitalizing them, either.
If there were a fire, I’d probably grab Alistair, Weasley and my bag of pictures.
(Alex would be fine to get out on his own, but of course he’s top of the list, as well)
I find great value in Scrapbooking, for those who have the attention span. I’ve started loads, and I love the first few pages I have.
I think the best course of action is organization and photo albums, out in the open where people can enjoy them. Making digital copies is also important in case of things such as fires.
But I wholeheartedly believe photos are worth keeping.
So, by the end of the weekend I managed a few bags of trash amongst my boxes of memories.
Just some of the boxes:
As fun as it was to ponder my past via memory boxes, it also felt good to through some of it away. Moderation was my guide, and I think it served me well.
If you are a nostalgic hoarder like me, here are some general tips I’d pass on:
1. If you can’t remember the person who sent you the note or the card, ponder it in amusement before throwing it away. Same goes for random objects and useless glowsticks.
2. Don’t be afraid to box up things you wish to keep, and then put them away. They’re safer in your garage than in your carryon backpack as you go from trip to trip.
3. If you can work it out, minimize the space ‘memories’ take up by condensing into smaller boxes which fit into bigger boxes, arranged by year or, in some cases by person (such as the ‘Alistair’ box).
4. Be wary of larger items of substandard collector value (such as my Nsync seat cushion, which I just couldn’t let go of). But I did throw away all of my NSYNC calendars, for example.
5. If something truly brings you joy, why let it fester in a box? See if you can find a new use for it.
6. If in doubt, throw it out.
7. But don’t be ashamed of nostalgia. We’re all human, after all, and our memories make up our lives. Little reminders of good times and good things can bring joy when you really need a boost. They can give others a boost as well.
And last of all, but most importantly…..don’t stop making new memories.
Yeah, so my dramatic teenage years are gone, and I can’t meet my husband again for the first time. But we’re making new memories as a family, and one day Alistair will be able to look back on things he doesn’t remember, such as the year he lived in Scotland, and we will be able to tell him about it.
We wouldn’t be able to tell him about it if we hadn’t gone.
Creating memories is much more important than saving them