Do we keep souvenirs as mementos of highlights or evidence of situations? I have a hat from when I visited San Francisco last. I’m sure you don’t need evidence from me that I went there once, and yet, we feel a need to have souvenirs related to things we’ve done, people we’ve met, and situations we’ve overcome. I am still guilty of this. Ideally, enough of my work should speak for itself to be both.
I’m not sure when I’ll get rid of that hat.
The only real memory I have is tied to something stupid, and not the many places I visited in San Francisco, which means it doesn’t hold much value to me, and yet there’s something deeper with it.
It represents a phase in my life.
I don’t need the evidence to prove that I was a shy kid that was curious about the world. I liked gaudy hats like this. I am still that shy kid, curious about the world, that still enjoys gaudy hats. With those three evocations, suddenly this blue jeans lookin’ hat is imbued with more meaning, so it’s much less of an ornament of obscured pasts.
Maybe I’ll even wear it sometime?
Dichotomically, when I read comments online talking about specific interactions with celebrities, unless the statement is innocuous like they had met someone and they were treated well, I would actually need evidence. However, unless such claims were so abhorrent that they would require or inspire investigation, I wouldn’t really care. Who am I to be keeping up with the private lives of those outside of my immediate concern? You met someone. You did something. So what?
How did that apply toward bettering your life?
I have a degree and certifications that have enabled me to receive employment, but did they enrich me as a person? Not much. Writing these essays to sort out my feelings about life has done far more for me in every regard except monetarily, and even that isn’t the point. Maybe I’ll start being paid to write essays like this after I’ve published one million words? Maybe a billion?
Does it even matter?
Everything in life is like that hat. It’s not proof that you were there. It’s that it represents something about yourself. I met a person recently with a slightly worn Mickey Mouse poll shirt and an Air Force lanyard. Those two objects are evidence of two different things yet their prominence is their importance. It’s conveyed a hard shell with a soft interior that matched his lecture style.
The things in our lives should be congruent with ourselves.
Stolen objects are incongruent with our morals. Objects evoking terrible memories don’t encourage us to live peacefully. Dichotomically, objects that represent our personal successes should be cherished and displayed, yet we tend to suppress those objects for unknown reasons.
What if we were more proud of our accomplishments?
What if we accepted our failures as learning opportunities?
Would we still need to exclaim bold claims?
|Sources: My personal experiences.|
|Inspirations: This is a frequent quote that comes up at work and as I’ve been writing about autographs and objects that convey a sense of “having been there” or “having met them,” this essay was the result of thinking through those thoughts.|
|Related: Other Downsizing Zeal essays.|
|Photo: My hat rack now has a second essay feature. It’s a little random with the potency of the essay’s title, but I think it fits.|
|Written On: June 28th [24 minutes, mobile]|
|Last Edited: July 1st [Minor edits while adapting to WordPress, otherwise, first draft; final draft for the Internet.]|