Why do we love collecting things?
Growing up, most of us probably went to different phases, where we collected a multitude of things. It can be your jigsaw puzzles back in grade school, your favorite artist’s albums during high school, or your beloved novel series during college. There is, in fact, a psychological explanation behind why we tend to accumulate these memorabilia.
Research suggests that we collect things we feel emotionally attached to. The reason why you still have that book from ten years ago? Perhaps because it was the first novel that understood you. The reason why you listen to the same song during bad days? Maybe because it was the tune that gives you the best sense of comfort and familiarity.
Diving deep into nostalgia
Have you ever spring-cleaned, stumbled upon some photos, and found yourself perusing your shelf of trinkets from your childhood? Perhaps you’re looking for something, and you suddenly found yourself more engrossed with that one photo album you were not looking for. Nostalgia—that desire to return to a certain point in the past where things felt right—is a powerful force.
Recent studies have shown that more than just giving you a fleeting moment of positivity, nostalgia is linked to self-esteem, the capability to connect, and having empathy. Revisiting the past and finding something that inspires you within those memories gives a sense of optimism about the future.
How our favorites keep us grounded
What these tell us now is that keeping things as we grow old is not juvenile. Going back to your favorites is not childish escapism. It is not a form of regression. On the contrary, it is when we go back to our roots that we discover how much we’ve grown and how we can still be something more. Rediscovering your favorite things in life is a realization of how you’re continuously in a state of becoming better.
There is nothing wrong with holding onto decades-old photographs and browned letters with fraying edges. Play that music that you used to hear when you were young, and songs came in vinyl, cassette, and CDs. Go read that book with the overused spine that you keep at your bottom drawer.
In a world where you’re constantly pressured to make something of yourself, don’t be afraid to come home to what makes you feel safe. Maybe you’ll find that there is still so much more to discover about your favorites.