clothing rack with different colored shirts hanging

Getting Real with Paul: Hanging Up Memories

This is a guest post for my “Getting Real” series. On this blog, we provide “pure human content,” and truly get real. I wanted to give other bloggers the opportunity to come on here and get real with me! I am so excited for the opportunity to invite other bloggers to join me and share their life experience and big feels. Interested in sending over a guest post and being part of the “Getting Real” series? Send me an email!

Now without further ado, let’s get real…

I think of myself as a nostalgic and sentimental person. Someone who finds themselves being reminded of old memories when listening to specific songs, or eating specific foods, or looking at specific objects, or even sniffing out a specific scent. 

It is as if I have memories on speed dial and my brain is just waiting for permission to initiate the call. 

A few weeks ago, I was going through my closet and drawers with the intention of donating whatever I no longer used. I do this every couple of years. 

It’s a fascinating process to me, and I think anyone, because one day you’re content with keeping certain items and then two years later, you don’t even think twice about donating them. Something changes in those two years.

The low hanging fruit is to say, “you changed” but…well, okay let’s go with that. 

Anyway, as I was going through my closet I came across a red t-shirt. I’ll be honest, I got lost in it for a few seconds. It was like I entered a portal into the past.

It took me right back to my first year of university. The first week, actually. It was probably Day 2. 

It was orientation week and a bunch of vendors set up tables in a giant square on a field. You go from one line, to the next, collecting free items. 

I can still picture myself standing in that line and the scenes I was taking in. The sun beaming down, lines snaking around every which way, a buzz in the air, and people going around to students in line handing out more free items while we waited. 

Someone handed me a frisbee which is currently in a box, about ten feet behind me. That was one of my first, “I’m going to like it here” moments. I already knew I was going to like it there but, to me, receiving a free item while standing in line for more free items was creme de la creme. 

At the end of that long line was this extra large red t-shirt. It was my faculty shirt, with a fun animation and wordplay on the front: “Life in the FAHS lane”. 

I also received a wall calendar, which is currently rolled up and about 15 feet away from me. I was also given an agenda. Its whereabouts are unknown, though I’m sure it’s around here somewhere. 

I only used the agenda a few times in my first year, mainly out of guilt and habit from high school. I found that writing due dates on my wall calendar was a lot better for me. That, and I’d write out all of my assignments for every course on the same sheet of printer paper. I’d keep it next to me on my desk. 

I think my irrational fear with the agenda was, “How am I going to know when things are due if I don’t flip ahead to the day I wrote, “Assignment Due”? It sounds silly, I know. Many of you are probably shaking your head and thinking, “Classic Paul”. 

Anyway, that t-shirt. I got a lot of use out of it over four years. It came in handy for intramurals, when my team decided we’d colour-coordinate and wear red. 

It doesn’t fit me the same way it did back then. It’s a bit too big, but still wearable. It’s meant for Paul, circa 2009, when I was 25 pounds more than I am now. Actually, it was probably too big by the end of my first year because I (unknowingly) experienced the less publicized, Freshman -22. 

I had a hearty appetite that year, with a meal plan to use up. So, I attribute the weight loss to all the walking I did on campus every day. I wish there was a step tracker on our phones back in 2009 because present day Paul really wants to know how far I was walking every day. I like stats.

Most of my classes were on the other side of campus and were a solid 10-minute speed walk away. Do that a few times back and forth every day, throw in the requisite cafeteria visits, which was two residence buildings over, and it adds up. 

All of that, and more, came rushing back the moment I pulled that t-shirt out of my closet. I don’t know if that happens to you, but it happened to me. 

I kept the t-shirt. I don’t think I can ever get rid of it. 

I’ll make this quick, but after I was done going through my closet, I opened my shorts drawer. Underneath all of them was the pair of dark grey shorts I wore on move-in day of first year. Honestly, I thought I’d gotten rid of them during a previous clothes clean-out session. 

I guess not.

I remember wearing them on move-in day because I wanted to be comfortable, both while carrying a mini fridge up three flights, and also when meeting new people for the first time. 

Knowing they were out of style and too big for me, I tried them on, anyway. 

Let me tell you, it’s a weird feeling putting on clothes that were made for a different era. The shorts were long enough to cover my knee. They were also very wide.

Back in 2009, shorter and slimmer fits weren’t the trend. Wearing shorts above the knee was not commonplace. It wasn’t the style. 

I also found some old cargo shorts in my drawer, but they didn’t bring back memories relating to school, so maybe I’ll save that and do a companion post on my blog about them. Look at this blog synergy I’m creating. 

I did not keep the shorts. I’m sentimental, but also practical. 

Both the shorts and the t-shirt had me back in 2009 all over again as memories came rushing back one after the other. I thought about the people that were there, the things we did, and the conversations we had.

I often wonder if other people share the same small, meaningless memories as me, or if they have their own memories that include me, that I don’t recall. How does that Venn diagram of memories work? Do we share the big ones and keep the small moments for ourselves?

Either way, it was a welcome surprise to have my mind go back in time and think about those things again. 

I miss those days. I always will.

But I’ll never forget them. 

They’ll be hanging up in my closet if I need a reminder.

Author Bio: toy hockey player next to blue bouncy ball

Paul has been blogging on The Captain’s Speech for 8.5 years about the thoughts running around his head. He prefers to think of it as a buffet of topics, rather than an online journal. Paul loves sports, pizza, songs with meaning, Gala apples, pro wrestling, documentaries, and a nice breeze. At night, you can often find him fast-forwarding through the commercials of shows.

Photo by Parker Burchfield on Unsplash

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