I've had the same keychain for the past 12 years. I received it a few months after turning 18, when I accepted a job to be a lifeguard at my local pool the summer before I left for college. A lifeguard has a few things to carry around at all times, and the red rubber keychain fit around my wrist, keeping my hands free but the pool keys close by. After the summer ended, I put the rest of my keys on it. The key to my dorm room, the car (a white Datsun 280ZX) that I left at home, and the key to my parents house. Then just last week I really looked at it and realized how much time had gone by.
Objects do that. They just live with us, day in and day out, and never change. You might not give the ceramic bowl or shell on the shelf any thought, but then one afternoon you walk, tilt your head, and all the history hits you. How long has that dusty frame been there? What did your my look like when I picked up the shell from Moonstone Beach and tucked it into my purse. Why do I still have high school t-shirts wrinkled in the bottom of my dresser drawer? Suddenly, objects are like a mirror held up, reflecting a version of our former selves.