Millennials, is our own consumerism filling us with emptiness?
Certain life events make us reflect on the meaning of things that we normally do not question, and illuminate places in our mind that were unknown before.
My grandmother left us a few years ago. In her house everything is still like when she was there, but everything is in a gloomy light because she was the soul of the house. The remaining objects takes us back to when they were there and to those moments of life we lived together. My grandmother was a teenager during the war and raised her sons in the post-war poverty, the period preceding the economic growth.
That lifestyle marked her generation in such a way that the spending was done constantly thinking about savings and satisfying just their most stringent needs.
On the shelf, the few photos that our grandparents could afford to print. In her jewellery box a pair of earrings that my grandfather had given her. She put them to church, with her festive outfit. Yes, in those days there were "festive outfits", exclusively worn on special days and then put back washed and ironed in the wardrobe. To go out, she used to spray her usual perfume. That's grandma's scent. A few years after her death I happened to smell her perfume twice, in passers-by and it was like my grandma was there near me.
This is what we are.
We are the memory of those who loved us, enclosed in a moment, sometimes in a special object that will remind of us forever. These special objects finish to identify us to the eyes of who loved us: like the dress of the first date with the love of our life, our favourite pair of earrings, the perfume we wear. And in the few favourite objects is enclosed a world of memories that, like a music box, releases its music. Grandma unknowingly had chosen those few objects to feel beautiful, to go out, and unknowingly to leave us a tangible piece of herself and her personality.
I wonder if ourselves, insatiable millennials with a different mood every day, thousands of influencers, and the emptiness of the multitude of objects that we possess, we are able to find ourselves and leave our unique perfume. I wonder if we will remember the dress of our first date, if our children will have a special memory of our pearls, or if they will be confused among the hundreds of hoop earrings and cheap diamonds, I wonder if throwing away objects everyday, we will remember some of our special days.
I wonder if among the thousands of selfies and photos on the phone, there will ever be a special printed photo that will fade on our bedside table or get creased in our pocket.
I certainly agree it's important to let the objects go and keep the memories.
Indeed I am aware that the memory we leave of ourselves is linked to what we have done and not to what we have owned. But I wonder why then we look for our being in what we own? Why do we need objects to express ourselves? Why the more we have, the more we are dissatisfied and incomplete?
Maybe as she used to say "it was better when it was worse".
Maybe it is true that "less is more".