Confessions of a Jobless Pack Rat

by Jane Moneypenny

I’m what you call a pack rat. Not a messy cluttered ones that need therapy and intervention like on TV, but one that is organized about her past. With that said, I’ve apparently kept every cheap present/jewelery box/jewelery/Sanrio notebooks I’ve ever got, as well as all letters and notes written since the 3rd grade. And who can’t forget the “art drawer” filled with every shred of crap possible in case of a future art project. Cardboard? Yes! String, ribbon, yarn? Yes! I also went through a lot of collecting as a kid: stickers, pencils, aluminum pencil cases, erasers, old bookmarks and coins. And guess what? All of it was still around, neatly stacked away in drawers and shelves. Every hand-written note I’ve ever gotten from a friend in class were all stored in shoeboxes, opened the few times I came home to laugh and remember the drama of growing up.

Today, I finally decluttered. My bedroom looks like I never left for college. Everything’s frozen in time and now that I’m home for awhile, I finally took the plunge and started cleaning out.

Since I was (and still am) an avid reader, I have 3 large bookshelves filled with old textbooks, novels, Boxcar Children, Babysitters’ Club and similar adolescent favorites. I boxed them up to send to a family friend’s young daughter. It was a little bittersweet opening up the covers and seeing my childish signature and date, but there was little point holding onto it since I’m not even close to having my own children. And after saving up old letters and cards and grammar school notes, I hesitated for a few minutes and tossed. 10 trash bags later, I was down to one box of recent mail and another box of high school folded notes that remain the only source for my friends since all theirs flooded. A few people suggested playing the “What Would Katrina Take?” game and before I knew it, I had thrown things I had held onto for years, but no longer looked at.

My first job at 16 was Michael’s, which meant discounts for art supplies and frames. Apparently I went through a phase where I thought gold frames were awesome because I have the strangest hodge-podge of frames that don’t look good together. This makes me never want to buy things again. Or keep anything for more than a year if I don’t use it. I guess this will be my project until I find a job. Redecorating, painting and making the room look like I’m actually of an adult age.

I did finally get out the house for the first time to grab a drink with a former crush, and it was a really great time catching up and laughing at our jobless lives. He’s going through the same thing, so for once, I didn’t feel like such a loser being in this state and living at home again. Although I’m completely over it, there was no denying that the chemistry very much still existed. And I rarely, if ever, admit this, but I was looking good. No, more like I felt good. Europe treated me well with a great tan, weight loss and toned legs (ah, I love summer and shorts season!).

Maybe that’s why I’ve been in a slump. As much as I love the girls on the trip and those here at home, I haven’t been around a male in a month. In St. Louis, I worked mostly with men and had a lot of male friends, so to go cold turkey was throwing me a little. On the trip, my best friend commented that I seem to have a lot of good guy friends that I have incredibly strong friendships with and she’s fascinated by it (but that’s another post for another day). Sometimes a girl just needs a guy to buy her a drink and drive her around town with his awesome car with really nice leather seats. Ah, quarterlife crisis. How you like to send me up and down.

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