Sunday, May 15, 2016

Fatherhood Reflections XX - The Passion Of Collecting

Had a long chat with the dad yesterday about our passion for our collections. His teapots, my comics & cards.

It started out as innocent chatter about our visit to the National Gallery (a must-go if you asked me) and my appreciation for art. Some veering took it to our present day aging collections.

I've had my comics & trading card collections since I was 13. That's more than 20yrs ago. Over the growing years, I'd scrimp and save just to buy these comics and cards like a crazy obsession, wanting to be the proud owner of the actual item AND the knowledge of knowing its contents. And till this day they are still stored properly albeit having been remotely visited lately.

Truth is, right now my collection is in this storeroom somewhere.

Yet I know that each time I revisit them, an overflowing sense of nostalgia envelopes me, almost like taking me back to my heyday of collecting. Each comic issue, each card reminding me how I painstakingly got my hands on them, how I went through the easy or hard journey of making each and every one a part of my collection. And it feels good. Seriously. The memory rush, just cannot be shared. It has to be felt personally.

Because not many people can proudly say that they have managed to amass such a big collection of something they are so passionate for. They may not be worth a lot (at most twice the value of what I spent on them), but to me, these seldom accessed dimes are priceless. They are a piece of my personal history. A part of who I am today, is simply based on the various influences from my journey of collecting and reading these things.

Like dad says, sure you could sell them now (he was referring to his teapots) and reap a very, very nice profit, but deep down inside you, what do you gain? That amount in profit can never buy back the memory you have had for that item you took so much pain in procuring, taking care of, storing, cherishing and remembering it. And you spend it on a nice meal, and then it's all gone.

Right now, these are the very things that help you cling on to your joyful memories, which is an extremely precious commodity as you get older. I'm already feeling the effects of aging. You simply cannot remember as much of your past even though you want to. Some things you will never remember without seeing an item associated with it, or an old friend helping you relate to it. Without the friend or the item, the memories die a slow death inside you, hoping to get revived or jogged, if ever.

And this is why I try to participate in old school reunions more often now. I visit old places and haunts on my own sometimes, and more importantly I try to store whatever items that are memorable to me. Even the Avengers and X-men movies help. Because once it is lost, it can never be replaced or relearned.

And so I understand why there is a reluctance for dad to sell his teapots. Because if it were up to me, I would rather keep the memory of my comics and trading cards with me till the day I die, safe in the knowledge that I can play with them and reminisce the good old days, which no one else will fully understand, and then whoever inherits it after I'm gone, can do whatever they want with it for all I care. If there is value, go cash it in and live a better life, if there isn't, then preferably give it away to someone else who can appreciate it as much as I did.

For they say, one man's treasure, is another man's trash.

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