Monday, October 11, 2010

reflections on growing up

I think everyone has those moments. You are in the midst of doing something and it hits you. Your back hurts more while doing something you've always done painlessly. You run into someone you knew years ago. You hear a song or smell a fragrance that takes you back in time. You think, wow was that really ten years ago? I feel so old!

My room at my parents house was frozen in high school. Memorabilia from field trips, ticket stubs from concerts, pictures from dances and dried flowers from old boyfriends were scattered around my very blue and very dated room. There was comfort in knowing nothing tangible there ever changed while I was busy... changing. My mom recalled the year I decided blue was my favorite color. I loved the smurfs, owned a blue winter jacket, wanted blue curtains and walls while wearing blue socks and shoes. It was the mid nineties and I was declaring proudly my newly establishing preferences for dress and decor. I am lucky that my room got to stay mine. It wasn't converted to a study or a sowing room, it just collected dust on those defining elements of school days.

I came home last week with the furniture I had bought years ago when I moved out to Denver as there was just no space for it in Brazil. To make room, we sold my first bedroom set given to me by my grandmother when I was about 8. I think my mom shed a few quiet tears. Then I went about redecorating and painting over the memories. Goodbye Blue. I spent three days priming and painting one 'bright white' and three 'gravity gray' walls. Down went the giant poster of a Cala lilly, the 9th grade twin day pictures, the beads from sorority events and the collection of shot glasses I once thought showing off would be so cool. I was in love with stars and galaxies so my dad pasted a glow in the dark system all over the ceiling above my bed which took forever to peel off. I went through the love notes of middle school, a complex world where my friends and I wrote pages and pages to each other during class about all the boys we 'loved'. The 'Best Friends Forever' necklaces I seemed to have shared with different friends each month and the math papers filled with dream house floorplan drawings instead of formulas. The biggest room was always noted strictly for my dogs. Over the past week I relived a decade. The items were aged yet the conversations in the letters and the people behind the pictures felt so fresh. Where did all the time go? And what do you save? Will I really sit down with my own children and show them the 200 pictures I took on a field trip to the Arlington Cemetery when I was 12?

My new room was to be grown up, organized with visually diminished amounts of stuff. But here I am having gone through containers and drawers feeling like I recyled enough to start my own center and I am still swimming in pictures and journals. I didn't realize I've been documenting every feeling and every place I've been since I was 5. Somehow before I leave in the next few days I have to finish deciphering treasures from trash.

So my grown up moment was fragrant, rich with the smell of high school football games and the music of band class even new paint can't disguise. I guess the takeaway for me is that somewhere in the significant era of a color I made some fantastic friends, traveled many places, slept beneath stars, graduated a few times and found my real best friend forever. Its amazing what a little paint can do. Goodbye Blue.


Jennifer Nicole said...

Wow. I LOVE this post. First of all your new room looks great. It definitely looks ten years older ;) As far as hearing a song that takes us back in time, or seeing someone from ages ago...I know EXACTLY what you mean! I have these moments when it feels like a memory is from so long ago that it must have been someone elses life. I have boxes and boxes full of memories and I struggle with knowing what to keep too. Where did the time go? I have NO idea. What do I save? A little of everything :) Thanks so much for the congrats over at my blog! Excited for your adventure ahead.

Fiona said...

Aw. Growing up is bittersweet.
it's nice to have a good ritual, like decluttering and saying hello to the new you, to do it.

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