A memory sticks out: I was in kindergarten, cruising down the highway to "Hello Time Bomb" by Matthew Good Band. God, I loved that song. 2002 I think it was. I was chewing on a wad of Hubba Bubba Tape - you remember that stuff? I sure hope so. Honestly, I don't like using the phrase, "If you didn't do ____, you haven't lived," but if you haven't had Hubba Bubba Tape, you probably aren't making the right choices in life. That's besides the point, though. Back to the highway.
My dad was driving down Highway 89 at a cool 120 kilometers per hour and I was getting to the end of the flavour high my gum had so graciously provided for me. As I cranked the wobbly Bonneville window slider and the wind began to whip into the car violently, a pit started to form in my stomach. Not out of hunger or a craving for more sweetness, but out of fear.
What would happen if I spit this gum out the window?
As a five or six-year-old, I wasn't an environmental activist, so it had nothing to do with littering. Instead, I had genuine worry - anxiety even - about what fate would befall my gum if it left my side. I didn't want to abandon it, both out of a premature thought of the existential aspects of inanimate objects and from a feeling of the "What if?".
It's a feeling that I feel nowadays, although quite differently, and it's a feeling I see around me. Hoarding. Collecting. Cherishing. Sentimentality. We keep old photos, post throwbacks, toss old memories in boxes, shove that pair of boxers we never wear deeper into our drawer, hold onto numbers of people we know take more than they give.
It's a feeling I've learned to kill. It's something I purposely punish out of myself every chance I get.
As of the last few months, I've began to shed dead weight. I tossed my high school mementos, deleted old pieces of social media, wiped folders I had on my phone and computer, burned bridges that nobody had bothered to cross in a while but still had me peeking to see if anybody had changed their mind. Indecisiveness is the true killer of life. You could have seventy years of reminiscing and repetition yet still not accomplish what someone with three days of courage and firmness would.
I gave my friend an analogy today: you leave on a road trip that aims to cover from one coast to the other with a slightly uneasy feeling. Deep down, you knew that you wouldn't have enough gas to make it, and as you reach the halfway mark, that feeling is becoming incredibly more powerful. What keeps you going is the fantasy, the one of actually making it to your destination, that you indulge in, but when you step outside your thoughts, you realize that it's just that: fantasy.
So ask yourself a question: are you going to make it to the coast? No? Then turn the fuck around.