Tuesday, February 21, 2012
I caught a couple of episodes recently of a popular television program where two men scout the country, looking for treasures they can buy from one party and sell to another at a profit. I also saw an episode not too long ago of a program where an appraiser helps families auction off some of their belongings so they can use the money to purchase a big-screen TV, fix up a kitchen, add a backyard patio, etc. In both programs, people are showcased who have many belongings and collections and are asked to part with them. I am fascinated by the fact that, many times, these people struggle to part with the items. They take on such significance, such emotional and sentimental importance, that the people have great difficulty making the decision to sell them. I am not a very materialistic person. I don't require a lot around me to make me happy. In fact, I'm much happier owning very little. I cling to very few belongings, mainly photographs. I'm an anti-hoarder so I suppose that could put me in the minority. I'd make the boring subject of a reality TV show. We've come a long way since the days of the settlers who traveled light for long distances with only the items they could place in a suitcase or carry on horseback or load into a horse-drawn wagon. Today, we have collections, gadgets, techy gizmos, closets bursting with clothes (even in sizes we can no longer wear) and what I believe the professionals would call ephemera to adorn, and oftentimes complicate, our lives. I wonder where the fine line is between owning things and having them own you.