The scorching summer heat blasted my entire body as I opened the door to my childhood bedroom that had been frozen in time. After I froze in single-digit temperatures for the first time ever during my first semester of college, the uncomfortable, sweltering, Hawaiian air was comforting due to its familiarity; it felt like home.
My family had added new cabinets to the kitchen and painted the bathroom bright orange while I was gone, but my bedroom was exactly as I left it. The video game posters I bought in eighth grade remained pinned to the wall that I haphazardly painted blue in tenth. On my bookshelf, my elementary school summer reading books sat next to the Shakespearian plays I always nearly fell asleep reading. A framed Pokémon drawing made by a friend in sixth grade rested on my dresser beside my high school diploma. Collared shirts that my high school’s dress code required us to wear filled my closet. Even though I spent the last few months away from home, the placement of every mundane object was etched into my memory.
This bedroom was like an extra mental storage space for my memories. Any time a memory became lost in my jumbled consciousness, I could look at an object and almost relive all of the cringe-inducing, heartfelt or devastating moments. This small, square bedroom was also my sanctuary, whether I was trying to sneakily play Pokémon under the covers without my parents catching me or staying up until 3 a.m. trying to finish a lab report. My childhood stuffed animals stared at me blankly, never judging me or expecting me to contort my personality to fit in with the crowd like I often felt my peers did. I was most free when I chose to lock myself away in my room.
Yet, walking into my bedroom felt as if I was disturbing a space that had retreated into a deep slumber. I sifted through old T-shirts from colleges I rejected and photos of people with whom I no longer keep in contact. I still hold the memories attached to each object, but I’m beginning to feel like this bedroom no longer knows me. I have no physical mementos of my first-year college experience and my internal growth in my nest of shiny objects. This room, with its old college essay drafts gathered in a pile on the ground, belongs to a version of myself that no longer exists. Everything in this room remained exactly where I left it, but I have changed. For the first time, my bedroom has not evolved with me.
After living away from home, I’ve gained more of an appreciation for the mundane. However, I know I cannot bring every single object with me into the next phase of my life. Walking back into my old bedroom felt like time traveling to the past, but now I’m looking toward the future. One day, I will leave this room for the final time, and I will not take my broken kendama or my scouting backpack with me. When that time comes, I will not be sad to let go of these relics of my childhood. Just like the old version of myself that is long gone, I think it soon will be time to bury this time capsule for good.
MiC Columnist Andrew Nakamura can be contacted at email@example.com