R’Perspective: Hoarding my way to graduation

 Vincent Ta/HIGHLANDER
Vincent Ta/HIGHLANDER

Anyone who walks into my shared office knows that I love to hoard things. The miraculously sound, pumpkin squash on my desk from last Halloween? It’s been given a pair of eyes, luscious lips and was essentially turned into a flirtatious dog, thanks to the loving touch of coworkers. The eclipsing, yet untouched metal cabinet in the corner? It’s been here for four years. The same goes for the little banana-color drawer snuggled right next to it.

I think many things are much more valuable than they actually are, and then I keep them.

The sentimental value of assorted wigwags often outweighs the cost of physical space and any potential cringeworthy glances directed my way. The emotional excess of nostalgia spewing from the past simply becomes relegated to a drawer to serve as a simple reminder of what was once sweet and simple.

I grew up in a family that used to hoard a lot and, when that family started to fall apart, it was somewhat easy to immediately attach myself to old, often irrational habits that softened the blow. Even when I initially started working, I attached myself to some ideal standard of “good” news articles, unreachable standards that only left me feeling miserable in the first place.

After years of writing for the news section, I found it harder to hoard information that I received from the hours of long interviews that I transcribed and the culmination of day-to-day events transpiring for any single story. If news reporting has taught me anything, it’s that there’ll always be many stories that you’ll want to tell, but there’s only so many ways to write it before readers figuratively puke from boredom or from the belief that something isn’t being portrayed the way they’d like to see.

In some respects, it took me a damn good while to recognize and overcome some of these particular habits (arriving on time is still a bit of challenge) that prompted finger-wagging from my coworkers and from myself. Admittedly, hoarding is still an issue that affects me in my personal life, but that’s usually as far as it goes.

I have learned to better separate this behavior from the professional environment I work in because being in a position of leadership requires one to make better judgment about their own behavior. At the same time, I found it pertinent to set a better example that I wanted others to strive toward, especially in terms of writing abilities and managerial skills. Though I understand that not all of my successors will face these exact same challenges, I am hoping that something good will still come from this.

The bottom line is: It is important to let go, to find solace in passing down the right metaphorical wrenches and hammers, so that someone else can use them to jazz up the old office space and possibly add a potted plant somewhere. It’s nice to live in a place with fond memories, such as through others, though it can become somewhat counterproductive to one’s own life goals and potentially even harrowing to one’s own mental state.

As my office life becomes categorized in a series of Amazon shipping boxes, I will clear through my drawers filled with Stephen King books, old Chinese homework and the occasional Nature Valley granola bar. I know I will still want to keep this, that and all of the above, but will leave knowing I have passed down my experiences for others to learn from. Besides, who wants to carry that much baggage in a graduation gown?

 

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