159. Hoarder

I have a tendency to keep things around long after they’ve stopped being useful.

Take my wallet, for example. It’s a beautiful thing that was given to me as a gift some 4 or 5 years ago by a dear friend who has since moved on to do other things in life. It has a nice sporty design, synthetic leather jacket, 8 different compartments for cards and notes, and a completely busted coin pouch. When I received a wallet for Christmas 2012, I just left it sitting on the shelf for a good half a year before I was guilt tripped into using it.

Until today, the former wallet still sits on my shelf, because I just cannot bear to part with it. I suspect that when I change from this present wallet to the next (which might be very soon, because I’ve been told that no self-respecting man above the age of 13 should own a velcro wallet), I’ll be keeping it lying around somewhere too.

There’s also a purple shirt – a gift from my crush back then – that I have outgrown since about 2 years ago, without me realizing it. I still keep it in my cupboard, not allowing anyone to touch it, despite the fact that, my mom would say, “It’s just taking up space”.

It’s a source of constant frustration for my mom, who’d rather things be kept economical and tidy. Over the years, I’ve stockpiled gadgets, clothes, books – especially books – shoes, foodstuff, trinkets… Things that a less sentimental person would have long ridden themselves of.

I guess it’s just that – sentimentality, plain and simple. It’s ridiculous how attached I get to things, and how detached I find myself from the people who surround me. In my drawer outside my room, I keep a birthday card all the way back from 2004, signed by a group of people who have long disappeared from my life, save for a handful of them. I still keep gifts in my room – a facial wash set; a superman statuette; a scrabble set – things that I never use, but have them just for the sake of having them around.

There’s nostalgia in the sentimentality. It reminds me of the years that have passed, and the people who had been around at that time. It reminds me of the person that I was, and the life that I lived. It reminds me of the friends that I’ve had.

See, unlike the present or the future, the past is just there. Unmoving. Unchanging. Multiverse theories aside, the past exists in this permanently frozen, partially preserved state. Memories decay and are forgotten, but we recognize them as they appear, and they always appear how we think we have always remembered them. Unlike people, memories don’t move on.

I keep my unused items around because they represent something that I can cling on to. In a world where everything and everyone is changing, these were the things that have been with me, and have stuck with me. Like good memories, I’ve held on to these things for so long, unwilling to let go of any single one of them.

Well-intentioned people might advice me to move on; but is there any real way to?

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