Monday, October 12, 2009

the importance of unimportant things

Sometime in the early 90s my mother gave me a ring that she bought from a spectacularly funky clothing store in Pocatello, Idaho. The shop was called Julie's and it embodied everything that was opposite of my small hometown of X. Julie's was where I bought my first (and only) pair of Birkenstocks which I wore until they disintegrated eight years later.

The ring was delicate and sweet – hand-crafted with sterling silver, one perfect amethyst perched in a raised setting and two tiny diamond chips set on either side. I loved the ring for many reasons: it was understated, streamlined and, most importantly, it was from my mother.

About a year later, I lost the ring and was sick over it. I didn't tell my mom, not because I thought she would be mad but because I felt guilty for being irresponsible. Part of me thought I might find it someday. My rational side knew that the ring was gone for good since I vaguely remembered leaving it next to a sink in the ladies' room of the Olive Garden in Logan, Utah.

At some point during the past 15 years, I stopped feeling sick over it. I don't recall the exact point in which the loss of the ring ceased to be a worry. I wish I could pinpoint the exact moment because it seems like a rite of passage, the moment a coveted object becomes less important. Don't you think that's an important transition, when one realizes material items don't matter?

I could be making it all sound more significant than it needs to be. Maybe the forward motion of life overshadows the loss of treasured items – like moving away from home or turbulent relationships, college, the daily grind, growing older...

Of course, it would be nice if I still had the ring but I'm certainly not losing sleep over it now. I've lost many belongings since then, either by my own inattentiveness or by theft. I don't fret the way I used to over lost things (which seems way too adult).

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