Nostalgia Kicks In
I had to stop myself in my tracks today. Amidst feverishly packing up all my stuff, and selling most of my possessions on Craigslist I stared at a Coffee Pot that should have had no meaning to me whatsoever. I’d just cleaned out half of my now barren kitchen and sold my couch to a bright-eyed bushy-tailed college student. As I gazed into the barely used glass carafe, the past six years of my life flashed before me. When I moved to Minneapolis it was a great leap of faith–aimless, but I still had sight of my dreams. Somehow an insignificant coffee maker reminded me that not too long ago I was a wanderer without a destination.
In that time, I finished college, met my future wife, started a few businesses, shocked most people with my career choice(s) and got into some Top Notch MBA Programs. Tonight, I had to remind myself that in that span I’ve rarely given myself the opportunity to press the slow-mo button and take it all in.
Motivated humans are generally trying to achieve success (by their measure) quicker than their less-motivated peers–and that’s, in many respects, how it should be. But what happens when we don’t take the time to really reflect? Life becomes a blur. In the midst of packing up my existence and moving onto the next chapter I have in a way taken life in itself for granted, by not reflecting on it. While I’ve trained myself to THINK I’m ready for the next phase, tonight’s little nostalgic episode proved, that at least for a week or two, I’m not. And I really have to focus on closure of this chapter and fully APPRECIATE the hard work put in and the support from others I received to be in this position.
After I looked at the Coffee Maker, which incidentally, I had just taken pictures of and was prepared to post on Craigslist at a fire sale price, I cleaned it off, dug up the original box, chuckled to myself and tucked it away–I’m bringing it to Dartmouth with me. Even though it hasn’t been used in a year and a half.
I always accuse my mother of being a hoarder, but I kind of related to her when boxed up the coffee pot. She has an extraordinarily difficult time letting go of objects. I’m the opposite, I’ll sell, recycle, or discard anything I deem unnecessary at a moments notice. But tonight her genes emerged within me.
She used to grumble at me when I was about to dump something silly like an old vase. I can hear her now, “DO NOT throw away anything in this house.” I’d respond slily, “Why, it’s all junk?” Sometimes she would say, “It’s MY junk, don’t touch it.” But this past summer when I was doing my annual garage clean out she said something different, “All of this stuff you call junk, is a reminder of the blessings this family has received. We came from nothing, and everything that I save reminds me that this family didn’t get here alone and the stars had to align many times for you to even be here today.”
I put the chair I was about to take to the street back in the corner of the garage. Now, exhibiting my own bit of nostalgic hoarding, I get what my Mother was saying. I’m not keeping the coffee pot because I’m going to use it… I’m sure it won’t see a drop of coffee while I’m at Tuck, but it does remind me of the blessings of my young adult life in a corny way. Additionally, it’s also going to serve as my reminder that every six years I have to collect something seemingly useless to slow down, jog the memories and count my blessings.