9th May marks Lost Socks Memorial Day, a day to bid a fond farewell to those never-to-be-reunited pairs, forever separated by the laundry/that weekend trip/those moths.
It got me thinking about other things I’ve lost, too.
Big and small. Meaningful and trivial. Loss is a big word and it can describe an all-encompassing hole in your world or the tiniest bump in the road, an inconvenience.
So what have I lost in my life? And what have I learnt?
One for all those who’ve ever had too much to drink, particularly those of us with a propensity for vomiting.
Let’s move on.
I wouldn’t say I lost it so much as finally unburdened myself of it.
(I’m pretty sure I stole that from a book but can’t remember which one, so thank you, anonymous author)
As I’m sure most virgins are, I was convinced that my not having had sex was akin to a giant neon sign flashing down at my head and had started to believe that maybe I would just never have sex.
When it finally happened I spent the entire time flitting between thinking ‘Oh my god I’m actually having sex’ to ‘Am I doing it right? Can he tell I don’t know what I’m doing?!’
So it’s safe to say that it didn’t unlock the key to a magical kingdom, and I wasn’t suddenly a super mature grown-up. But at least I had one less thing to feel awkward about.
My bucket and spade
You know those childhood toys that you can’t actually remember, but that have entered family mythology? One of mine was my beloved seaside bucket, which I recall nothing about other than being sad that it was gone.
My big sister ‘lost’ this at the seaside when it was swept out to sea. About a decade later it turned out that it hadn’t so much been swept as slowly floated away and she’d spent too long deciding whether to follow it or not.
She consoled me with saying that the mermaids might bring it back to me, so I spent a good few nights praying for the mermaids to return my bucket to me, waking each morning to check under my bed.
Yes, then I believed in both God and mermaids and thought that they were somehow all friends.
Speaking of God, he and I were once pretty tight. Until I reached about 12 and started to question it all, fairly quickly coming to the conclusion that, despite my best efforts, my faith had left me and that I no longer believed in Him or any of it.
I completely reject the sort of atheism that baits religious people or tries to belittle them, but I just feel that it’s so much more powerful to choose to act in a certain way because it’s the compassionate thing to do and not because a deity has commanded you do it in exchange for reward in the afterlife.
Ultimately there are both atheists and religious people who are kind and good and there are both atheists and religious people who are total bellends.
Comedy babe Bo Burnham has written a very funny but thoughtful song about religion that chimes pretty well with how I feel:
All my grandparents
I’d say I’m pretty lucky to have not encountered too much death in my life so far, but I have ‘lost’ all of my grandparents.
It’s a strange euphemism to describe someone as ‘lost’, yet it is somehow fitting- they are not there, but there- in photos, in stories, in faces.
Particularly with family members who die when you’re young, there’s the realisation that they had lived a whole life before you came along. That they were once 18 with dreams and expectations of what their story would be. I was only around for the final chapters, but I hope that in the end they were happy with the shape of their lives and with the stories that echoed behind them.
My favourite t-shirt
In my second year of uni I treated myself to a limited edition t-shirt that, in a series of stick man drawings, detailed the emotional journey through the days of the week as depicted in the lyrics to The Cure’s ‘Friday I’m in Love’. I loved that t-shirt.
One year later in the big move home before I embarked upon whatever on earth I was going to do with my life, I must have misplaced one bag of clothes. A bag containing the t-shirt, my university branded hoody and some beloved black velvet leggings.
I was genuinely gutted, and wasn’t able to replace it (see above: limited edition).
One by one I abandoned the other clothes I’d worn at that age. I moved on from them, or they grew baggy and faded and were consigned to only-in-the-house territory.
But that t-shirt is frozen in time and I will never get the chance to tire of it.
More of a gift than a loss then, in the end.
So what can I conclude about loss?
Every loss is a lesson.
Appreciate precious life whilst you still have it.
It’s sad to lose objects because they represent more than that to us. They represent the person that we once were.
And bundle your socks up when you put them into the laundry.