[Moving Zeal] Donating Old Memories

Ideally, I shouldn’t donate anything that reminds me of particularly positive events. Realistically, I’ve gotten into the phase of donating and selling where I’m considering whether the memory a certain object emits is worth keeping. That memory won’t be gone completely, especially if I write about it or photograph the object, but more broadly, should we hold onto things just because they give us some memories? What if negative memories one day later become positive?

Let’s take this photographed polo shirt as an example.

There’s no point in keeping it anymore. Even though it was a decent polo shirt and looked nice, I’ll never work there again. That gig had some good and bad things about it and the shirt is one of my few mementos, so when I’d look at it sometimes, it’d be a good memory and other times not. Objects reminding us of multitudinous memories will probably be more likely to have that sort of mix of positive and negative memories, depending on the time or ego we have when we perceive these memories. Say my ego is strong and confident, I might recall a negative event and smile that I overcame it, whereas if my ego were weak and needy, I might even recall a positive event with a bit of a cringe. These are memories I’m alright with letting go of because here’s the main thing:

I’d never wear that shirt again.

Between the weight loss and the lack of applicability, if I were to ever want to wear a blue polo shirt like that, I could just buy one, and as much as we don’t like to admit it, we live in an era of such overabundance that there is an extremely small but possible likelihood that if I were struck with such regret that I absolutely needed a shirt just like this, I could, through sheer force and effort, eventually find a suitable replacement. I’ve seen it. I found a specific sticker we applied to computers at one gig in the bottom of a box at another gig. Sure, it was a recycling gig, but those recycled computers weren’t directly from that gig, so it was a weird coincidence.

Here’s the thing: we might cherish nostalgia too much.

Especially us hoarders, we might place value on an object that is far and away leagues more than its actual worth. Even if the object were a CD with a limited print run of 500 copies, it’s possible to find one of the other 499 copies – as I did once.

Here are questions I’ve kept in mind while sorting through objects to keep or donate/sell:

  1. Do I want to keep this?
  2. Is this item so unique that it will be trouble to reacquire it?
  3. What positive memories does this object emit?

One shirt I kept reminded me of a nice conversation I had with a random girl. Never got her name or anything, but that memory is nice, and more importantly, I might wear the shirt again…

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal experiences.
Inspirations: I spent the day going through my wardrobe. This was the second major pass for November, with the first pass skimming everything with absolutely no value. These essays are kind of time travel delayed on purpose because when the essay publishes and I remember to look, I can read through it and remember “that’s how I was like then…”
Related: Other Moving Zeal essays.
Photo: Tried for an extreme depth of field. Best I could do with the time I had.
Written On: November 29th [27 minutes]
Last Edited: First draft; final draft
My big goal is to write. My important goal is to write "The Story." My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame a fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. Let's strive to be better everyday. (Avatar)