Apparently you can put a price on childhood memories. Last weekend, an important part of my youth was sold for $80. Yes, this was probably more than four hardly-working guitars and half a beaten up drum set are worth, but it won’t stop some part of me from feeling a little.....Discounted.
Each item, a precious gem from my rock band phase that served as an outlet for my sometimes overabundance of teenage angst, disappeared at a family garage sale last weekend. I was overdue to part with them, but it didn’t mean some emotional pain wasn’t involved. In the meantime, we’re trying to sell the family house I grew up in, which has my parents in a constant purging mode. Coupled with the fact that half my family are closet hoarders, an abundance of crap has just accumulated like some sort of nostalgic monster pooped a pile of useless material in the basement. Strewn throughout this mess are things that I probably haven’t looked at in over a decade: crudely taken photographs of trips to camp during my childhood, a collection of ‘hot wheels’ toy cars with the names of family members still scrawled over the bottoms and old letters to lovers past.
At some point, every young adult is faced with memorabilia from their past and has choose what the hell to do with it. It can feel overwhelming and unfair, but that stuff isn’t just stuff – it’s a part of who you are and where you came from. It has a history captured within it and creeps to the depths of the chasm of your brain where old, dusty memories have been waiting reoccupy your consciousness. As I revisit my youth in flashes of remembering who gave me what and why my mom held onto stacks of my journals from grade school I can’t help but pause and think about childhood, innocence and where the hell I lost it.
It’s hardly enough to say that I’ve experienced a ‘blast from the past’ because something else happens when you go that far back; everything in between also finds its way into your thoughts, and you inevitably begin to measure yourself against your challenges, failures and successes. This lesson in self-reflection isn’t just about looking back on the path you’ve made. It’s also about starting off in a completely different direction, perhaps even bushwhacking through some completely unexplored place that’s ridden with new bugs and crawlies.
One thing is for sure: if 24 year old Aaron can sell 16 year old Aaron’s most prized possessions, something has changed in those eight years, and I have a feeling it’s not just the drums.