It’s a new year, and I want to make a clean start. So I begin my annual ritual of sorting through all the things I’ve accumulated in the past year and throwing out whatever I won’t need.

First, I toss out the piles of press kits and magazines I won’t look at again. Next comes the reams of notes I’ve taken at meetings, press events and interviews. If I haven’t transcribed them by now, they go into the trash bin.

Then I inevitably get to the swag, the branded items journalists typically acquire when they attend meetings and special events. A few things are worth keeping, like that free pair of designer sunglasses I was given at a press conference. Most of it is not, like the T-shirts with company logos, pens, bags and other assorted paraphernalia.

Yet I have a hard time parting with some of it. Like the red plastic Pentax letter opener I picked up 20 years ago that I still use. Or the Orcolite coaster, circa 1990, that I rest my coffee mug on. And the SOLA Percepta T-shirt I wear around the house.

Why do I keep this stuff? I suppose it’s partly because these souvenirs help me remember people I’ve met and places I’ve visited during my optical career. But it’s more than just nostalgia. These objects help me recall the history of our industry. Companies that have left their mark. Influential products that have been part of the ever-evolving “lenscape.” They are disposable items, yet I don’t dispose of them because they help tell the story of how we got to where we are today.
As much as I value my stuff, I can’t keep accumulating it year after year. Some of it will have to go. Of course, then I’ll have room for new stuff.

As we head into the new year, we’ll be celebrating 20/20’s 40th anniversary. Watch for special editorial coverage as we mark this milestone.

Andrew Karp
Group Editor, Lenses and Technology