Admit it, somewhere in your house you have one. A stack of stickers that you have been carefully curating over the years. Every race/ festival/ local shop/ and brewery that has had the pleasure of your attendance is represented.
In the outdoor activity realm stickers are like little vinyl flags that are flown to alert others to our own personal tribe. We put them on our car windows, bikes, home climbing walls, rooftop boxes, and beer fridges. They signal a safe space where other like-minded people gather to do the things that make them feel alive. I always get nervous when I see a vehicle without stickers. Whenever I pull up to a trailhead and I see a clean rig with no stickers I automatically think there is a serial killer waiting for me in the woods.
In short, stickers show the world that you are more than a job title and a bank account. They help others to answer the question, “what do you do?” Because of this we are very picky with which stickers we display. This is where the pile comes in. “I mean, I really like __________, but what if___________.” You hem and you haw about what others will think about your apparent undying love for Company X or Local Race 2017. But at some point you have to make a decision. It’s certainly hard. Some stickers are only made for certain events or product lines and YOU MAY NEVER COME ACROSS ONE THAT SPEAKS TO YOU AND WHO YOU ARE THAT PERFECTLY AGAIN! I totally get that feeling. I used to have a clean car and a massive pile of stickers.
I suffered from SAD (Sticker Anxiety Disorder). You know how I got past that? I came to the logical realization there will always be more stickers. My current collection is proof of this concept. Whenever one fades or is lost at highway speed another will come along that may even better represent who you are. You probably already have a perfect replacement lined up on the bench. There it is, behind that regionally specific sticker that only people in the know will get.