Sunday, March 21, 2021

SOLSC '21 Day Twenty-one: Letter to Christine

I am participating in my ninth Slice of Life Story Challenge run by the team behind the Two Writing Teachers website.  We are challenged to write a blog post a day throughout the month of March.

Dear Christine,

It should go without saying that this is a serious-minded letter, opening with your full name.  This is no time for namby-pamby self-given nicknames; we are getting real here.

I see you've done a bit of spring cleaning--good for you!  Yes, I know you planned on clearing several square feet of floor space, and getting rid of boxes of clothes.  You cleared about a square yard's worth between the bedroom and the hallway and put about one box's worth of clothes in the Goodwill pile.  That's a start.

But (you knew there had to be a but)...let's talk about what you discovered, grouped, organized a bit while you were cleaning:
  • A full 76 quart sized storage tub of winter-weight pajamas.  We're talking flannel and fleece, all those cute owly Nick & Nora sets, Old Navy Christmas now have enough to last through decades of future winters, even if we repeat this year's Snowpocalypse {{{shudder}}}. I let you keep them because they are soft and cuddly...but please, no more.  Enjoy what you have.  Use them until they are ragged and ready to toss.
  • Sweaters, especially cardigans.  Yes, I know you are a librarian and cardigans are practically a required uniform for the job.  You pretty much have the rainbow of colors in various weights and styles; let's get creative and build outfits with what you've got, 'kay?
  • That note about creative outfitting--that goes for your clothes, too.  Remember those early days of teaching, when you bought six mix and match pieces and had fun coming up with the outfits?  Let's return to that mindset.  You tend to buy classic pieces--kudos for not being too trendy--which means they will mix and match well.  And yes, I know you are on a weight loss journey, those next-size-down clothes a tantalizing motivator; you've got plenty of those, too.  Save tons of money and shop your own closet.  Wear them until they don't fit/ are too worn/ don't appeal any more, then toss or donate.  You have enough clothes to last until you retire in a decade--no need to buy any more!
  • Shoes--you have enough for your two feet for years to come.  Enough said.
  • Let's talk skin care products and makeup.  Honey, you've got enough sets and samples to last you through the next three years, at least.  You could make yourself up every day and not get through all the eyeshadows alone before you reach a hundred years old. (And you are your Grammie's granddaughter, so I know you'll still be rocking that made-up look, wrinkles and all, at that age.)  You have supported your friends' side gigs well; give your makeup and skincare product purchasing a rest for a good long while. (Oh, and the same holds true for nail polish--enough, already!  You only have twenty nails!)
  • Last, but not least...and this will be a hard one for you, I know...journals, planners, stickers, pens, books.  You tend to go a little overboard with Erin Condren and Plum Paper sales, birthday coupons from Crayola, those cute pens from Talking Out of Turn.  And heaven forbid you pass up that latest, greatest book recommendation from a friend.  You know where all these purchases are--bins of empty journals just waiting to be filled, stickers to last through several planners, piles of unread books taking up floor and shelf space  Time to go old school, set your timer each day, and READ already.  Reviews on Amazon don't count.  Close the browser and open a book that's waiting for you, right there in your own house.  Delete those EC, Plum Paper, and Happy Planner emails until you've used up a few dozen sheets of stickers and need a 2022 planner. 
I know you, honey.  I know retail therapy is in your matriarchal genes.  I know you feel that Christmas-like high when those packages arrive in the mail.  But retirement is but a decade away (hopefully), and your children deserve a clutter-free legacy.  There are enough real family heirlooms to pass along.

Learn to enjoy what you have, Christine.  You and your bank account will be so much better for it.  Deep down, you know that's true.

Much love,


  1. A mentor text for the rest of us! (There can’t be too many who’ve already conquered it all!)

  2. SO funny. I have been paring down in all aspects of my life and sometimes....sorry...I miss what I gave away! I like the idea of keeping it all and just using it down...if only I had room!

  3. Phew! Big truth here! My goal for Spring Break is to clean out my closet and get rid of some STUFF! OK, a LOT of stuff!

  4. This was fun to read. I wonder whether Christine listens to the helpful advice from Chris. I like the format you used. Coaches sometimes ask for this kind of inner dialogue writing for sorting problems or finding answers to questions.

  5. Thanks for sharing. I love the voice you created in this piece. Very relatable.

  6. I’d say you gave yourself a good talking to! Retirement has a way of curbing the shopping, but it’s dang hard to pass up new school clothes. I told my husband a few days ago I haven’t bought new underwear in over two years. I don’t have a problem w/ cosmetics, however, but the book purchases make up for that!

  7. You had me giggling out loud, Chris - so well-written and phrased, such a fun tone in the self-deprecation. Love how you started with the seriousness of the whole name (yikes!). The make-up part was my favorite, rockin' the look at Grammie's age. Every bit of this is a delight, even if it pokes fun at hard truths!

  8. I haven't lived a life where I can store up stuff, so I find this very funny as it's not subjective and I don't have anything to throw out. Your descriptions are very amusing, especially about make up and the box of pyjamas!