Why I Hang onto Weird Stuff from my Past

I’ve had this fake ficus plant for 15 years. Its condition is so poor that it can’t fake being a fake plant anymore.

The leaves have an official dust stain (no amount of Pledge can help it) and it can barely stand up because the bottom has lost so much filling. You may be able to see the plastic wrapping too.

I should have trashed this nasty thing years ago.

But, I’ve kept it. And people probably think I’m a hoarder.

Am I a hoarder?

I don’t think so. I do like to hang onto stuff, sometimes longer than I should — don’t ask about my random beer bottle collection I kept since college (I tossed them last year).

But here’s the thing. And it hit me earlier today as I walked into the ProtoFuse office.

I spend a lot of time thinking about and working towards the future.

Whether it be my kids’ future, CrossFit goals, growth of my agency (ProtoFuse), professional expertise goals, how the Chicago Bears’ new Free Agents and Draft will impact their 2018 season — the list can keep going.

I’m always thinking “What’s next?” and don’t spend near enough time reflecting or thinking about the past. My natural state is forward, not backward.

Cue: The beautiful Ficus Plant

I bought this ficus in 2003 when my then business partner and I were starting our own company. It sat in a corner of our townhome. For two single dudes in their mid-20’s, it was a valiant effort for decor.

These days, it serves a different purpose. Every Monday through Friday, I see it when entering the ProtoFuse office. The ficus gives me quick flashbacks of those early days of starting a company. The hustle. The newness. The excitement. The unknowns. Sometimes, the pain. It’s a quick reflection.

And that’s why I hang onto it. It shocks me out of my current state (forward-thinking), even if for a few seconds, and helps me to reflect on the past. What I’ve accomplished. How lucky I’ve been. My journey.

Hoarder? I don’t think so.

It’s forced intentional reflection — in the form of crap. :)