It’s not the gift. It’s you.

I was talking to my Dad last week, and he said, “Don’t take this the wrong way, kid. But, since you’re on this new minimalist thing, please don’t buy me any more t-shirts.” Haha!

Every time I visit my parents, I have a new t-shirt from Columbus or Ohio State. I’ve been in the area for over ten years now, so these t-shirts have added up.

My dad said that my latest addition to the Ohio t-shirt collection, received in December, has not been worn. It still has the tags on it. My dad said he still has t-shirts from 10 years ago that he needs to toss.

Since I started this journey, I have identified triggers that helped me realize that a minimalist lifestyle was a good choice for me. One trigger relates back to my parents. (I’m not one who goes around blaming my parents for everything I find wrong with my life. That’s not the case.)

My parents don’t throw things out, and they admit to this. They will even point to evidence of this. They have accumulated a lot of stuff through their years of traveling, and the accumulation increased with my sister and me.

When we left home, we left a lot of things. And my parents have kept most of this stuff with the hopes that we would come home and get some of it. However, both my sister and I moved to different areas of the country. It’s less expensive to buy new things than to have them shipped by freight or by mail.

So I have been telling my parents for years that if it was left, then my sister and I probably don’t need it. But I know that parting with things is hard. Hopefully, this fall, I will be able to go home, take a couple hundred black trash bags, and throw things out.

On the next trip home, however, I will know not to buy a Columbus or Ohio State t-shirt for my Dad. My presence means more to my parents than a cotton fabric. Being with them is more valuable than anything I could possibly buy.

My memories and love are not in an object; they are within me.

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