Those are two windsurfer sails; I’ve got three more and they taught me about hoarding. I’m going to bore you with technical details: 4.7, 5.2, 5.4, 6.3, and 7.2 square meters, with manufacturer names I love to say out loud to myself. You change sails every few knots or so and frantically rerig for the new wind. From the old days, and I don’t think I’ll ever use them again; if I want to windsurf I’d probably rent.
Today we cleaned out a garage so Grant could keep his “Hot Buttered Rolls” (Royce) safe and I found a ton of stuff that I’m loath to sell or throw away; the windsurf stuff was only part of it. A lot of pictures, drawings and gifts from my various kids, pictures with my ex-wife with our kids, achievement awards from a company I worked for. On and on.
If I hadn’t cleaned out the garage I wouldn’t have ever remembered these things so why, when suddenly finding them after a few years, am I suddenly so, so attached. Because as far as I know, they didn’t exist, right? I have the same sense of need about things I have around me and see every day. If someone told me I had to get rid of, say, my triathlon license plate I’d be be upset, even though it’s just sitting here on my desk, as it’s been doing for years, kind of getting in the way. It only seems to apply to things I can SEE.
I think I may have some understanding of hoarding now; what it feels like, even if it’s something I just picked up casually at the store. The feeling is so personal, like the ‘thing’ is part of me. I’d never understood how hoarders could have such a hard time giving up any of their stuff…..but it must feel the same. I’m pretty much a minimalist so I don’t accumulate much, but those things I do keep become quite personal, as it must for someone who picks things up and keeps them around. The reasons may be different, but that sad, longing feeling (maybe even anxiety) when thinking about losing an object is quite deep and powerful. I’m so glad to identify it; I have a lot more empathy now.