While the world keeps getting bigger and filled with more options and new and better things, it’s always the common things in life that capture my heart. Not the latest new gourmet food or the hottest trend in clothing, but those ridiculously ordinary things that have stood the test of time. They are the things that I knew as a child and the things that still give me comfort as an adult whenever I see them. Like french fries and ketchup. Or that favorite pair of sneakers. Or a comforting cup of tea. I also have to admit that I’ve frankly grown too old and exhausted to keep up with all the latest new trends. With clothes, for example, I simply buy what Target tells me to buy, or what Marshall’s tells me was all the rage last season. These days, I don’t have the time or interest to worry over fashion. Even back when I did, I was too often wrong or late to the party anyway. No, when it comes to the stuff of my life, I like to keep things as simple as possible. That’s the real magic.
When I was a little kid, I loved going to garage sales with my mom. This was back in the days before eBay where the only way to get rid of stuff you no longer wanted was to open a pop-up shop in your garage. It was amazing to look at all the little things that people once thought they wanted and now decided to discard. The old adage that “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure” played out as people from all over the neighborhood would come and buy things. I loved this little treasure hunt. There was always something interesting to find, including things I’d seen in ads that I wanted, but were too expensive. But even more than that, I loved finding interesting little trinkets that were rather unusual. They were completely devoid of value, and the original owners must have agreed by placing them on sale a nickel, but I thought they were amazing. Even if I didn’t talk my mom into purchasing that little piece of nothing, I would stand there admiring it, imagining a whole story for it to star in. Looking back, perhaps I just felt bad for the poor things, as nothing is sadder than when someone stops loving you.
Sure, today, I have too much stuff and I really should get rid of some of it. But each time I pick up an object my mind floods back to the memories that it contains. Silly, often inconsequential memories that shouldn’t really matter anymore, but somehow, manage to touch my heart. I do eventually say goodbye to these little things, as I’ve no intention of becoming a hoarder, but it’s a slow process. It’s difficult to decide if a memory is worth keeping. How will I know if I’ll really miss it until it’s already gone? So, for now, I just let my little trinkets surround me and know that one day, I’ll most likely bid them farewell. But today, there’s a special comfort to be found there. Those memory keepers are often the only physical reminder of where I’ve been. The digital remnants lost in my phone don’t share the same value. I may not be rich or famous, but I feel like a millionaire when I’m lost in those memories. Those quiet and bewitching moments, when I’m once again reminded to stop and appreciate the magic of simple stuff.
About the Doodlewash
Sennelier L’Aquarelle: Quinacridone Gold, Dioxazine Purple, Red Orange, Sennelier Red, Perylene Maroon, Phthalocyanine Blue, and Payne’s Grey. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in an A6 Hahnemühle Watercolor Book.
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!