|Before (pic from here)|
I can say, after almost 15 years of marriage, there are very few things that own, let alone wear, that are leftovers from my pre-teshuva days. My "jungle boots" have been in my possession since I was 15. For almost 27 years they have been with me. They traveled witht me on my NCSY "teen summer tour" of Israel, when I solidified my observance, they spent two years with me when I was learning in E"Y afer high school, went to NY with me to college, lived with me before I was married, and have survived (so far) three Uber-kids. When we moved to Chicago, where I actually encountered real winters, I had to retire them, since they are not waterproof. I have yet to see any weather this season that might bring them out of retirement, but I'm hopeful.
It's funny, but even now when I put them on, there's a certain strut in my step, memories of a young kid who felt like he could take on the world and do with politeness. Music long forgotten plays in my head and memories of a less structured life come into play. Even the crazy smell of them has a whiff of confidence that lingers. I know it, nuts, right? We all have objects that hold significance to us. It could be your Shabbos lichter, tefillin, a sefer, a matzah cover, coffee cup, bookmark, or even a Yoda Star Wars figure (yes, I still have mine). Some items we can only hope to pass down to the next generation. I know that eventually I will throw these boots away, but for now I'm holding on to them, purely for nostalgic reasons. Also, they don't take up too much space.