They’re just possessions, right?!

Image of an open bag with a notebook, a pen, mobile phone and sunglasses spilling out, to go with my post about possessions.

I always say I don’t care about worldly goods. When I say it, I also really mean it. People are much more important than any kind of possessions can ever be.

Why is it then that I feel so strongly about each and every possession I owe? It’s not like I value them more than I do people, but once something is mine, it’s mine.

Let me explain…

Nurture and nature

For as long as I can remember, I have always looked after my stuff, whether clothes, books, gadgets, or anything else in my room – when I lived with my parents – or in my house, once I had my own. No matter how little I had, or whether items were costly or not, I was protective of it.

I think the basis of this lies in my upbringing. My parents were far from rich. In fact, all through my childhood they had to turn over every cent twice before they spent it. We always had enough food, and clothes to wear – some made by my mom – but on birthdays we only got one small gift, and for Christmas one bigger, and one small one. It was always something we really wanted, like the one year I was gifted my much-loved tape recorder.

I never broke my toys; never folded ears in books, or bent them backwards. I always cared well for my belongings, and barely ever allowed others to touch it.

Where I think much of how I am with my belongings comes from nurture, some of it is definitely nature…

Nine months old

This is a story my mom loved to tell.

When my mom was pregnant with me, my father saw another woman. A marital crisis followed, and they did what they would do many times more after that to save their marriage: they moved. In this case, they moved from Vanderbijlpark to Uïs, Namibia. Yep, not next-door at all.

They became friends with the neighbors, who had a daughter three months older than I was. One night they were visiting us – I was nine months old – and the two of us were playing. As happens with children, we were interested in each other’s toys. I was more than happy to share, until she wanted to play with my favorite toy. I grabbed it from her, and in turn she grabbed it from me, stood up and walked away.

I couldn’t walk yet, but my mom told me I started crawling after her, and when I wasn’t fast enough, I stood up, and walked! I got my toy back from her, and from then on, I could walk. You can call this jealousy, but knowing how I am with my belongings, it seems there’s a theme here.

Sharing clothes

Teenagers, especially teenage girls, tend to share their clothes. This one borrows a shirt from that one, or the other lends you a dress for a night out.

I never did that.

I never borrowed anything from anyone, and not a hair on my head would think about lending my clothes to any of my friends, no matter how close they were to me. No one thought this to be strange; they just accepted this as part of me.

When my oldest became a teenager, she would sometimes borrow my clothes, mostly tops. She never asked, just took it from my closet, and I would find it in the laundry, or miss it from my closet when I wanted to wear it.

Always, when she did that, I gave her the item of clothing. Obviously after lecturing her about never taking clothes from my closet ever again.

Sharing clothes is just not something I do, or can do. I am very careful with my clothes, and some items of my clothing have been in my closet for many, many years, and still look like they had been bought last week. Once someone else wear my clothes – yes, even my own child – it’s like a ‘chain’ is broken, and it doesn’t feel like mine anymore.

I know… weird.

I really don’t know where this part of my character comes from.

Another example… two weeks ago, I went cycling with my daughter, and when I wanted to get up again – we had already cycled about 18km – I made a misstep and fell. I bruised my knee badly, but what I really hated most was damaging my pants, a pair I was then wearing only for the third time! It took me days to get over it.

A Cup-A-Soup mug

Years ago, a colleague was introduced to the anger I feel when my things are touched without permission.

At work we provided the employees with instant soup. As head of administration and in charge of purchasing, I received an email from Cup-A-Soup to purchase mugs for all colleagues at a reduced price. The nice thing about this was that each mug would have an employee’s name printed on it. Everyone loved the gesture.

Then one day I took my cup from the cupboard in the kitchen, and in a thick black marker someone had written my nickname above my name. I was furious, and even more so when I couldn’t wash off the writing.

Hours later a colleague asked me if I liked that he had written my nickname on the cup. Poor guy, he had to endure my tirade of how one should never damage someone else’s stuff.

I apologized the next day, understanding that I totally overreacted. Still, this was very much in character for me, protecting what I see as my possession.

And still I say I don’t care about worldly goods…

Privileged position

We are in the privileged position that we can buy something when we want it.

For me, it hasn’t always been like this. Up to when I moved in with Master T – I was 37 – I was more or less in the same position my parents always were. I had to turn over every cent, and there was little room for luxuries. I had two children to feed and dress and put through school.

Landing a very good job, a couple of months before I moved in with Master T, had been a turning point for me. Eighteen years on, and I am still in the same job, and Master T has a good one too. We are not rich, not by far. But, we are both very sensible with money – Master T is brilliant with managing and saving money – which allows us to buy what we want and need.

This doesn’t mean we buy everything our eyes see. No, any purchases above 100 euros, no matter what kind of item it is, we discuss at length to make sure that we don’t spend money unnecessarily. And whatever new possession I acquire, I treat with the same care I have always done from childhood.

I don’t care about any worldly possessions

I still say I don’t care about worldly possessions, even though I look after whatever I own, as well as I do. You can argue that it’s easy for me to say this, since we are okay, moneywise, but I also said this when I had to turn over every cent before spending it.

If you give me the option to lose a possession to losing a person from my life, I will gladly destroy the possession myself.

I think I feel as strongly about my worldly possessions because my parents taught me this from a very young age. You can call it nurture or nature… bottom line: its part of who I am, and something I have accepted many years ago.

© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay

Wicked Wednesday

9 thoughts on “They’re just possessions, right?!

  1. I think this is something that many people should have more of this respect for possessions. Easy come easy go is so prevalent and it makes people so wasteful!

  2. I have a strong attachment to sentimental things… the green lamp that lights up my living room that belonged to my mom, the antique candle extinguisher that belonged to my grandmother, the photos that decorate my home. I’d like to be less attached, but I know I would be devastated to lose some of these things…even if they are just things, for me, the represent a relationship that I greatly valued. I think one of my biggest fears (besides losing actual people in my life) is my home burning down. Living in CA this is a constant worry during the terrible fire seasons we suffer now. In any case…great post. This serves to remind us what is really important… human connection <3

    1. I can only imagine how real your fear must be for the fires, and your house burning down. When I see the images, they really scare me. I also want to keep some of the things that were my mom’s, simply because it was hers.

  3. I may resemble your feelings on “my things”. I have had to learn that they are just things. I collect. Ok I would be a hoarder if my partners allowed it but I can’t. I don’t share well. It’s hard to let someone borrow something if I know they won’t take care of it.

    I have things that have been around for decades cause I take care of them. Recently the 9 year old got big enough to rode one of my bikes. I don’t use it much anymore so I have let him use it until he either grows into another bike or I decide it is better his than mine. When he kept leaving it on the ground instead of putting it away I took him aside and told him how old it is. How much it would cost to replace. As well as how it still works like new. It’s maintained. Ever since then when he uses it he puts it away and takes care. I will probably gift it to him on his next birthday. Using that bike he was able to ride with his mom, older sister and me on a 30 mile ride. He loved the experience. People are more important than things.
    Using things to teach life skills, a simple pleasure.

  4. Thanks for this. I’ve been in a terrible ‘funk’ the past month due to our life move which is a mess right now. I shouldn’t say that, I’m the ‘mess’. Nobody else seems to be affected. I appreciate your insight, wisdom and candor.


    1. Hi am so sorry you are in a bad place now, elskling, and hope things will improve for you. Thank you for your comment, and for reading xox

  5. The u at nine months made me laugh – and I like how u are mindful about having relatively good fortune – Karma like that lol
    May xx

    1. I feel we should never forget where we come from. I’ve known financially bad times, both as a child, but also as an adult, which makes me appreciate even more what we have today. And I too laugh when I think of myself at 9 months, 😉 xox

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