Audrey Lord is a junior at Homestead High School.
Why are we obsessed with stuff?
Whether it's your prize collection of antiques or the five shirts that are the same style in different colors, let's face it: we like stuff. In the 1990s, Americans went on a buying spree. Things produced from China became cheaper, and we were starting to make more money. We always want more, and we are never satisfied. Whether you believe it or not, we associate memories with our belongings. According to The British Psychological Society, our thoughts of possession and ownership start as early as age 2. By age 6, we attach extra value to these objects, solely because these objects are ours. We learn at an early age that we have our own belongings and attach specific memories to these objects.
At an early age, we are given things to make us happy. As kids, these possessions keep us occupied and entertained. We are wired to this addiction of needing things. Growing up, we look to our friends as we feel like they have the world and we just don't have enough yet. So we accumulate all these things, and sooner or later we reach a point where we have too much. I don't think this growing problem could ever potentially go away due to the fact that we want more than everyone else.
The fact of the matter is we use objects to have memories. That shirt your mom bought but you never wore? Those stuffed animals you slept with as a child? They're all just memories. The point is, we don't need stuff to acquire memories. Just because you don't own the necklace you and your sister fought over when you were 10 doesn't mean it never happened. A good way to remember these times without objects could be even as simple as keeping a journal. I have many friends who keep journals, and I do too. Journals are an easy way of expressing how you feel or what you want to remember in a few short seconds. You don't have to keep every object you share a memory with.
Journals are a good idea for any kind of person to keep memories. If you aren't the best with words, think about using your journal for drawing. My journal is half drawing and half writing. Some may say it's just easier to keep things, but things take up space. Sooner or later, your house is going to be full of things you just kept for the memories. Journals are lightweight and easy to take anywhere. I have kept journals since I was a little kid, and to this day I go back and look at my older journals. I appreciate my parents being for the idea, so now I don't have to struggle to remember things in my childhood. Journals are also nice when you're stressed and just need a place to rant or express your thoughts. This idea isn't only for adults; kids would benefit from this as well.
Writing things on paper the old fashioned way will stand the test of time.