Hoarders is a programme where people who have a mental illness are paraded in front of a TV audience for us to point at like they are a Victorian freak show. The participants have normally experienced a traumatic event in their life that makes them feel unable to let go of any item that they possess. Being afraid to lose anything about their history they keep and store every memory in physical form.
I suffer from the alternate version of this, I have little sentimentality for past possessions and as a result tend to through away stuff before I should. I don’t have piles of cards or items I’ve collected from holiday. The memories of my past times are in my head, which is a worrying prospect as my recollection of my youth is terrible.
It would be easy to feel sad about this, but I am someone who does not like to live and dwell in the past. I’ve been there and it was pretty good, mostly, but I am way more excited by the future and I can’t be tripping over my memories while trying to do that.
The memorabilia I have has increased with marriage, mostly because Mrs G likes to have some items to display, but our house is still spartan with photos or collectables. The only storage of items we have here are stored safely in the attic and that just consists of bags of baby clothes and number of suitcases (because who throws out a suitcase).
Instead Mrs G has self-storage back in America, her old life that she left is in a container somewhere in New York and we’ve not yet brought it across. Part of this is the practicality of shipping across the Atlantic but there is perhaps some part hopeful. If there is still a box of her belongings in New York then maybe she can still claim that part of her is still there.
She is more vested in keeping her past lives, the storage of a keyboard and some clothes helps keep the memory alive of her time across the ocean. She is much more backward looking than I, she keeps in touch regularly with old school friends and places much more stock in her history. I have the oppostie view, I am like the Romans in Carthage and much happier to scorch the earth of my past.
Self storage is a great way of documenting who you were, and while the study of your personal history is important I am much more excited about the person I will become. It is hard to do that with excess luggage. Pack what you need in a suitcase and for the rest of that container, burn it. You’ll find that you never needed to keep three tin openers in the first place.
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