I stood in front of the bathroom mirror. As I stared at my reflection, wearing the red Chiefs sweatshirt, I noticed some things. I didn’t like the way it looked. I didn’t like the way it felt. And I didn’t like the way I felt wearing it.
It was uncomfortable. I felt droopy and kind of weighed down. All of this could only mean one thing: the time had come to let it go.
I took a few minutes to remember how much fun my brother and I had together that crisp and sunny October weekend five years ago. It was the first trip I’d made back to the Midwest on my own, and I flew into town for a quick visit and a Chiefs game. Naturally, this meant stopping at the store to buy some Chiefs gear on the way.
But now, holding the sweatshirt my hand, my mind carefully clicked through the following:
- I wasn’t going to wear this thing again.
- Giving it away would not erase any of my cherished memories that were created while wearing it.
- It would be awesome if someone else could have the opportunity to wear and enjoy it.
And just like that, the years of keeping it stored it the back of my closet, thinking I would or should wear it again, finally came to an end as I added it to a bag of items destined for Goodwill. Then I went about my day, happily imagining a Chiefs fan unexpectedly stumbling across it in Portland, thrilled to have something new to wear on game days this season.
A few days later, my mom came over to load everything up. She took the first couple bags down to the car and came back WEARING the sweatshirt! And it looked fantastic on her! Tell me you agree!
I experienced FAR more joy in those first five minutes of seeing her wear the sweatshirt than I did in the entire 5 years it had been in my possession. All of the things that made it less than ideal for me–the orangey shade of red and the way the collar pops up in the back–are the exact things that make it perfect for her! Needless to say, I had no idea that the Chiefs fan to find treasure in my old sweatshirt would turn out to be my very own mom! I was, and still am, thrilled!
Maybe you have something similar in your possession– something small, something you hardly think about, but something that if you were to take a second to consider it, you’d realize there’s some memory, emotion, or “should” attached to it. I’d love to hear your stories in the comments below and I can’t wait to hear if you experience the same sweet taste of freedom that I did.
Because this simple sweatshirt didn’t take up much room. I didn’t think of it all that often. And yet, it was sucking energy and joy from my life without me even knowing it. I only realize this now because of the feelings of lightness and freedom I felt once I’d let go. It became a release of guilt that I didn’t even know I was carrying around–for not having worn it enough, for not having gotten my money’s worth, etc.
So it turns out, I let go of something more than just a sweatshirt. And I was rewarded tenfold, receiving something SO much better in return.
Big surprise, little things are powerful. This definitely shouldn’t be a surprise at this point, but somehow I find myself in awe of that simple truth EVERY time it pops up.
Simple yet profound. Small but mighty. It never gets old.
Wishing you freedom and JOY,
And some awe for good measure,