Hoarding: amassing money or valued objects and storing them. New York is famous for housing hoarders. I actually had an upstairs neighbor at one point that was a hoarder and although he was a bit of a nutcase, not all hoarders are crazy. In a sense, we are all hoarders. We may not hoard physical items, but the majority of us do all we can to hoard experiences, interactions with people, sexual encounters and memories in general.
We are collectors of sorts, doing what we can to make this life meaningful. There’s a good side and a dark side to this type of hoarding — it can make life exciting and beautiful, but if taken too far, can cloud our minds and cause us to lose ourselves.
What is life more than a compilation of all our memories and experiences? What are you more than what you have done and what you think? Your thoughts themselves are influenced entirely by your past and by the memories that you have, the truths you hold to be true and your dreams of the future.
It makes sense to believe that the more experiences that you have, the fuller your life will be. The more you do, the more people you meet, the more fun you have, the more emotions that come over you will only add color to the canvas that is your being. Life offers us a world full of endless possibilities.
The activities that can be done — the people we can do them with — all vary to such a high degree that no two experiences will ever be the same. As people change, time moves on and what we experience, how we experience it and what it means to us differ from how it would have been presented to us under any other circumstances, during any other time.
No two experiences are ever identical — for this reason each encounter, each night of craziness, every interaction with another human beings is unique and valuable beyond measure. Objects only have the worth that we give them. Fleeting moments, on the other hand, have an intrinsic value in and of themselves.
It’s no surprise that we feel a need to collect as many of these moments as we can — they make life worth living. The more people that you meet, the more perspectives you have the opportunity to interact with. Each person sees the world differently, even if only slightly. If you spend enough time with a person — enough time to get to know them and to pick their brain — you will get a rare view of the world through their eyes.
With each new experience and each new person that we let into our life we are, in a way, adding to ourselves, adding to our own being. The brain is a magnificent organism. It is capable of holding more information than a person can find useful. All our memories of past activities and experiences, all of our interactions with strangers and friends are stored in our brains.
We are capable of separating and finding distinctions between each — for the most part. However, the more that we have going on in our life, the more difficult it becomes to separate our memories and thoughts from the present reality.
The thing about experiencing life to the fullest is that it requires a certain level of ‘presence.’ Not physical presence — obviously if you are experiencing a moment then you are present in the physical sense — but mental presence. This is where the double-edged sword makes itself known; the more we do, the more we experience, the more we keep busy, the less in the moment we remain. Our minds are great at ‘going back in time’ and reliving past doings.
If we want to relive a moment or an emotion, all we need to do is close our eyes and think back to that moment. Of course, we will never be able to live the moment the way we lived it the first time around. Once a moment passes it is forever gone and the memory of it is only but a shadow weakening in clarity over time. It can become quite difficult to keep oneself in the moment when memories of the past and worries of the future do their best to gain center stage of your consciousness.
Hoarding too much of life can take its toll on you. I understand that there is so much to do and so many experiences to be a part of that it feels wrong to let them pass you by. But in the end, it’s not about the quantity, but rather about the quality of these moments that matters most. It is sometimes better to decide to let things go and to spend more time appreciating all the things, memories and people that you already have.
Life has a way of just happening to us whether or not we are actively doing our best to hoard experiences. My advice is to do what you love to do, spend as much time with those you care about most and that care about you, and appreciate all that life throws your way. If you spend your life only looking for your next collectable, you’ll never have the time to appreciate all you’ve collected.