A Case for Holding On

The feeling of wanting something new has been around forever. Looking at that new thing that is shinier or more colorful than the thing you are holding and feeling an overwhelming desire to have it. To upgrade.

I saw this feeling first hand when I worked in retail. Every year thousands would line up around city blocks in order to sneak a glimpse at the newest thing. Those that were deemed lucky would have one set aside with their name on it and they would gleefully pay to upgrade their device. Most of them would smile as they handed over their old device that was only turning a year old. There was no attachment to this object that they used more than any thing else in their life.

When I first started my job there I was an excited participant during these launches. I was just as happy to get the newest thing when it came out and then turn around and sell my old stuff to some stranger online. But after a couple years, of what felt more like immersive therapy, I felt unhappy. I was spending my days watching people be consumed by the newness. I was being consumed. I started getting paychecks and immediately gave them back to the company. I was buying things because I saw other people buying things or because something new appeared on the shelf. Then as these new things engulfed me I realized I didn’t know why I had them.

Glen O’Brien’s leatherjackets jacket. Crown drawn by his friend, Jean-Michel Basquiat

Diderot wrote an essay in 1769 titled Regrets for my Old Dressing Gown in which he discusses how his life had been taken over by the new. It starts with him receiving a new, brightly colored gown and getting rid of his old, dull one. But this new one doesn’t fit his ordinary life style. So, he gets new everything. He gets rid of his old prints, and furniture, and rugs, and replaces them with the fashionable. In the end, he is in debt, missing the ones he loves, and is now surrounded by objects that have no meaning to him. It turned out that those old, dull objects held a great deal of meaning and showed off who he truly was. Now that they were gone he didn’t know who he was anymore.

My wallet. My girlfriend and I walk into to Tanner Goods and bought one each. I’ll remember her everyday. 

This isn’t a blog that is anti-things. It’s the opposite actually. It is a place to celebrate the things we love. The feelings that comes from holding and seeing the things we keep close. The love, excitement, hurt, and pain that are attached. This is a place for stories. Stories about how we got them, about where we’ve taken them, and about how they’ve been worn down along the way.

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