I Have a Hoarding Problem

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(These plants from the botanical gardens this morning really weren’t that remarkable. Why did I take this picture?)

Dear P,

I’m sitting on my aunt’s back porch, munching on my third box of Kirkland’s Winter Roasted Seaweed today and reading Murakami’s “Kafka on the Shore”. I just put my cousin down for his nap and the Georgia sunshine is perfection. In other words, I’ve reached a peaceful point in my existence, an excellent point from which to examine my many character flaws.

One particular problem has been bothering me lately. Since I have been using the app Snapchat, it has become clear to me that I am a picture hoarder. I have become an expert in taking a screenshot in the two-second window the average snapchat provides. It causes me an untold amount of anxiety that, if I did not archive it, the picture would drift onward into the great beyond, leaving that precious moment of my friend’s existence un-remembered.

It’s a short jump to the realization that I have a similar compulsion to record my own life. With my iPhone camera so easily available, I can snap a picture of every precious moment. Right now, I have 2,154 pictures on my phone. When will I have the time or desire to look through and savor each of these 2,154 individual moments?

Never.

My iPhone album is only the beginning. We share a tumblr. You hardly ever like things, so I know I am responsible for the 9,684 liked posts from over the course of this year. I feel a little ill admitting this to myself. I have wasted enough time on tumblr to like nearly ten thousand posts. The only reason I like things is because, at some point, I have a vague plan to go back and re-laugh, re-exclaim, re-enjoy the post. I have no inclination to go back and look at the pictures on my iPhone. I have even less inclination to go back and look at pieces of the Internet I have already wasted time looking at. The hoarding goes on. I have 843 items in my catch-all “Awesome Pictures” folder. I have 590 items in my “Favorite Quotes” folder.

Why do I have this compulsion to document, to archive, to unceasingly record for my future self? My future self doesn’t have time for this nonsense. Do I subconsciously believe that, by documenting every single second of my life, I can stop time from passing? That I can deny my own mortality?

I don’t have a solution to this problem, so I will continue to photograph, journal, blog and “like”. I will try to live in the moment but probably wish the moment would expand so that I could relish it indefinitely. But time doesn’t work like that.

Yours truly,

E

P. S.- I’m so glad you put up the Jacqueline Kennedy- P flashin’ fashion. It’s one of my favorites. I also hope that the finals fairies sprinkle fairly dust all over your brain. It’s only a month before the best weekend of your life- when you will come see me and we will have your nineteen-and-one-month birthday and everything will be merry and nothing will be sad or stressful.

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