top of page

Nostalgia and the Hoarder


I have papers in my closet that have been there since I was in 7th grade. They're meaningless mostly,things like math handouts or science worksheets and I'm pretty sure that if I had never seen them again in my life, I wouldn't even care.

So then why are they so hard to throw away?

It's not like I even enjoyed writing them at the time or they have any life altering memories associated with them. They're just... there, taking up space in my closet. Just sitting there collecting dust and turning yellow with age.

Maybe it's a selfish thing and I just need to have a physical representation of what I wrote like when I was 12. Like somehow I need to remember through algebra equations the type of person I was to know who I will I become. But I have stacks of worksheets. Full on binders of nothingness. I can track my entire middle school to high school academic school years through them and while it is cool to see the evolution of my penmanship, they really are just stacks of dead trees.

The act of placing them in the trash makes me feel like I'm losing something, even though I know I'll forget they even existed in a few days or probably a few hours if I'm thinking realistically. I feel like I'm betraying something, but I can't exactly place what.

I blame nostalgia.

In the same way people clamor to shows like Stranger Things or hipsters try to revive vinyl records, it's all about missing a time where you wish you could go back to. Or maybe it's not even that, but it's a time you wish you could have experienced better.

But hoarding doesn't solve the problem, not really. It's just another example of hiding it, of pushing it away, so far back in your mind that you pretend that it is not in the past.That it exists in some sort of limbo or stasis and that you are still that person , even when deep down you know you aren't. Nostalgia is good in small doses but living in it is dangerous. It all becomes a jumbled mess that becomes exhausting to look at. It stops you from evolving and sometimes it even breeds something even deadlier-- fear.

Why bother trying in the future when in the past you were not enough or vice versa. Fully immersing yourself in nostalgia and clinging to the past is a form of silent self sabotage -- you don't even realize you're in it.

I'm at a weird place in my life. I feel like the internet rainbow wheel, just constantly in progress, but the content never really loads. I need to press the refresh button, but I'm scared that if I do, I'll lose my place in line and I'll just be back to square one again. Maybe instead of the hard F5 refresh, all I need is a system update.

Which leads me to today.

I'm starting to do it. Throw the papers in the trash. I got one whole box out the door today. It itched my heart to do it. I have countless more to go through. And I'm sure I'll feel irrationally attached to them as well. But it's going to be okay. Stranger things have happened.


bottom of page