Collect Moments, Not Things

“Collect moments, not things,” echoes steadily through my mind as I go through all my belongings to decide what to keep, and what to give away or sell. The whole quote being, “While you are alive collect moments not things, earn respect not money and enjoy love not luxuries.” ― Aarti Khurana

On all my travels, I felt the need to purchase some kind of souvenir; anything to remember that location by. Often it was shot glasses, mugs, keychains or a flag, I took a physical item home with me to be able to look at and remember that part of my journey. But as I go through all those items, and even stuff that isn’t from my excursions, I start to get nostalgic and it makes it tough to give some things away. And even worse, it’s hard to go through my belongings and realizing that I am starting a new life with only the items I have in these suitcases. From now on, I am a nomad.

I completely aspire to collect moments rather than things, but sometimes it’s hard to give up those “things” that remind you of those moments. For example, while my Harry Potter obsession days are quite over (not obsessed now, but still a huge fan), I have memorabilia I kept over the years that is sort of devastating to give up. Yes, I’ll never use Snape’s wand or Marauder’s Map for anything in the future, but it’s a major part of my childhood that’s fading away with every bit of it I give away or keep in a box at my parents house.

It’s hard to realize what’s important to me, and what I don’t need in my life anymore. What things do I give up so I can fondly remember the moment that went with it instead of having a physical piece of evidence that it was part of my life? What do I want to find among my belongings as a older person, that will evoke a beautiful picture of how my life was in that moment? How does one decide that? How do you compress a life of 23 years, into three suitcases?

Sometimes these thoughts make me feel pretty bleak, but they really shouldn’t. I should feel freed from the idea that I need all these things to make me happy, and instead realize that this is an opportunity to create a life not held down by too many clothes or knick-knacks. After grad school is over, I’ll move out of my tiny dorm in London and maybe stay there but in a new home. But perhaps I’ll move to New York City and find a studio apartment, but then in another few years move to Paris. I don’t want to ever get stuck or held down in one place too long, and by starting now with only the essentials in my life, I feel like I can prepare for a time when I will finally be content with only hoarding moments, instead of things.

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