The Advance-Titan

Memories, not possessions are what matter

Objects that can be so easily destroyed are often times thought of as keepsakes of our younger years and treasured much more than they need to be. Materialism is a topic that is very thought-provoking and gives mixed signals and feelings to people who think deeply enough about it.

Material objects can make us happy, but only for a short amount of time. The proof of this is within our own society.

This is a two-sided spectrum. On one side you have minimalists who think things should not make you happy and understand that these things we have collected over our lives could burn away or break, and they wouldn’t care.

On the other side are the hoarders. They put a specific memory behind each and every thing that they own and often times refuse to get rid of it because it feels like getting rid of an old friend or even the memory itself.

In today’s society, we value the look of a minimalistic lifestyle.

So as adults today, in a society that values minimalism, can we truly answer if more makes us happy?

Because of society’s minimalistic values, we often times try to have as little as possible holding us down. We want to look like we have everything we need and the only things we would need to buy are things that we use every day and run out of.

As someone who strives to achieve this impossible social perfection, and because of the small living environment, I have as little in my dorm room as possible. But even with this small living space that I will be residing in for another seven months, I can say that it is very hard for me to live minimalistically.

As part of the population that likes to go shopping, I have an enormous amount of clothing. If someone were to ask me if my clothing makes me happy, my immediate response would be “No, why would clothing make me happy?”

However, if I were to truly look at myself, I could tell you that my sense of style does make me happy, which would lead me to say that my clothing also makes me happy. I love to go out and spend money on clothing.

This situation can also be used on many other different things and often times is used on multiple things for each person. For guys, it could be football memorabilia, trading cards, cars, guns and a number of others things. For girls, it could be makeup, shoes, nail polish, plants and decor items that only are brought out once a month.

Each of these items will have specific memories behind them, but we also keep them or buy more of them for sensible reasons as well. These “sensible” reasons could be whatever we come up with to keep those objects within our grasp, or at least in a bin in our basement.
In short, things can make us happy, but they cannot make us eternally happy.

Freshman Chase Lowen said objects that we acquire may mean more to us if we need to earn them.

“I believe that things can make us happy if we [have to] work for it,” Lowen said. “Sometimes we take things for granted because every single person is different.”

If we need to earn the item we so desperately want to have, then we put a higher amount of respect towards this item. However, it is not the item itself that makes us happy — it is the opportunity or event that puts that item in our hands that makes us happy.

Things that make us happy are events or opportunities that happen in our lives. These events can be repetitive or maybe they only happen once in a lifetime.

Scoring a goal at a soccer game, making people laugh, going out with friends and acting like fools are all events that make people happy.
These things can not be made of cloth or polyester but are made of memories that have taught us how to be nice to others and treasure what we have.

It is not the things that make you a happy person, and it can be proven that things do not make us happy for long periods of time. The memories behind the objects that we collect are what make us happy.

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Memories, not possessions are what matter