I blogged a while back about how for my generation, furniture has become a commodity good. Furniture now has liquidity, in contrast to generations’ past. Furniture can be purchased cheaply at Ikea or bought used over services like Craigslist.
Something else occurred to me today and I am not sure how I feel about it. Back in grade school one of the favorite questions teachers would ask is ’If your house was burning down and you could only take one possession, what would it be?’ For as long as I can remember my answer was, family photos (I don’t think pets counted).
Well when this question reappeared in my mind today, I realized that at my current apartment I would be completely fine loosing everything. All my photos and writings are backed-up online. Books are a dime a dozen, same with clothes. I have never been one for jewelry, so my watch, etc is all dispensable. In fact, aside from my computer and bike I don’t think I own anything in my apartment valued over $300. Additionally, I can’t think of one item that holds any real sentimental value to me.
While I should probably be happy because the implication is that I’m not a materialistic person, I’m not happy. Actually, I’m thinking it’s probably not a good sign that I don’t have any possessions that really define who I am, like heirlooms passed down from my parents, or a meaningful document like a diploma that I felt I really struggled to earn.
My guess is I may be unusual, but overall my sentiments are much more pervasive among current generations than any generation before us. For example, I can rattle off many possessions that mean the world to my grandparents and even parents. They would likely have lists of stuff for the fire question. Materialism is obviously not a sought after trait, but perhaps allowing yourself to commoditize everything isn’t so hot either. Hmm.