Francisco Ramirez - Essay

Worldly Possessions: A Mosaic of Our Worldly Travels

Your space is your own, where you can feel as if you have a place in the world. And what space is complete without filling it with our possessions, things acquired over time, having saved up just enough to go all in on the transaction. Maybe it wasn’t even a high price tag to begin with, and you just happened to get lucky when there just happened to be a sale. Or perhaps a gift, someone thinking of you when they happened to lay their eyes on some materialistic goods, feeling that “this is SO you!” Whatever the means it is you acquired your possessions, there’s no doubt that we feel good having ownership over something, “this is mine, I have control over this.” Some might argue that possessions are “just things that hold no real value in our lives” or that “it’s just plastic and cheap materials.”  However, possessions can be seen as an extension of ourselves, a collage of things that represent who we are. After all, if we like something, and it’s something we feel would bring us value into our lives, why else would we get it? We cherish our possessions because we not only earned them and they enhance the way we live, but they also can be of sentimental value. 

Every year, almost as if it’s a routine by now, a new release hits the market. Whether it’s a car, phone, or entertainment system, one thing is abundantly clear. People want to get their hands on it and they’re willing to pay top dollar to do so. Having something that’s hard to come by, whether price or scarcity being the issue, communicates something to others. “I manage to get this, I EARNED this, I moved mountains to ACQUIRE this.” It’s almost a status symbol, “LOOK WHAT I GOT AND YOU DIDN’T! I’M BETTER!” Though it isn’t usually being screamed out at the top of buildings, as one is assured to also acquire a lengthy stay at an asylum, but the message is subtle. The release of the new Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 come to mind, both being tricky to get a unit in addition to carrying a hefty price tag. But for those who have it? Well as a person who managed to acquire the new Xbox, I can speak for myself and say that after hooking it up in my room, I felt like I did the impossible, that I managed to get one because I earned it (also helps to have someone give a heads up about the next shipment, which if you think about it, knowing something ahead of time gives one a “competitive edge” so to speak.). But even then, possessions don’t just endow us with bragging rights, they can also enhance the way we live. 

Our cell phones allow us to keep in touch with one another, even when we could be separated by long distances and vast oceans. Our laptops allowing us to take work on the go, allowing us to keep on top of priorities and obligations as we are constantly mobile. Previously mentioned video game consoles allow us to unwind after a long and difficult day, forgetting our worries as we venture into far off virtual worlds to escape our realities for a little while. Possessions enhance our way of living, as well as providing security and stability. Home surveillance being a literal example! It’s not too uncommon to see homes now being outfitted with wireless cameras, deterring porch pirates (a thief that steals deliveries from one’s porch), home intruders, and car thieves. Even if some scoundrel manages to follow through with the act of larceny, it’s all on camera and can be used to apprehend the perpetrator. My home has cameras looking over our front porch, garage, and backyard. Thanks to this security system, we can see anything that happens within the proximity of our homes, making would be thieves think twice about making our home a target. Because no one should have to go through the experience of losing your belongings. And what’s worse than losing your worldly possessions? Losing the ones that money just can’t replace. 

Some things we can’t even begin to put a price on, being of sentimental value and not wanting to be without it. Whether it was a handmade gift, something that was acquired and reminds you of a loved one, or something that was passed down from a previous generation. There’s no arguing that something of sentimental value adds something not just to our physical collection, but to our souls as well. My father and I used to watch “The X-Files” when I was growing up, it’s where my love of the paranormal and all things strange began. My father had this X-Files mug he would always drink his coffee from, and after his passing in 2007, I’ve held onto dearly ever since. If something were to happen to it, could I get it replaced? Probably, maybe, perhaps so! But would it feel as if I’ve lost something of value, something that will never fill the hole the original mug left in it’s vacancy? You better believe it would feel as if I just lost a part of my childhood, all the memories I made growing up. A piece of myself snuffed out like a dying flame on a spent candle wick. It’s one of the reasons I don’t allow anyone else to use it for anything unless under my supervision, even then it must be someone I trust to treat it with utmost care. Same with my Vincent Van Gogh keychain my sister brought back from the Netherlands after visiting the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. Though it didn’t cost much, I cherish the “Smoking Skeleton” keychain as Van Gogh is one of my favorite impressionist painters of all time, and the fact she thought of me when buying it, makes it more meaningful to have. 

No matter how you want to look at it, possessions do more than take up space around us. They are things we like having, feeling as if you put them all together you would have the essence of the owner who acquired them. We feel as if we earned them, because we “deserve to treat ourselves from time to time.” Possessions can also help add stability in our lives in addition to security, enhancing how we live now whether it’s an automated coffee maker with a hot brew in the morning or a security system ensuring the home is alarmed before bed. But most importantly, possessions can add sentimental value in our lives, being more than just cheap plastic or recycled materials. They can remind us that we’re loved, remind us of the people who matter the most to us, the memories we’ve created. Take us back to the good times that were had when we received these sentimental gifts. They can be things that take up residency in our hearts as well as our collection of things we love. And you really just can’t put a price on that. 

About the Artist

A first-semester student at Mission College, Francisco Ramirez enjoys lifting weights and working out in general. He believes in a "Healthy body for a healthy mind!" He also enjoys all things considered nerdy and geeky, like videogames, sci-fi stuff, fantasy things (anyone looking to play DnD?), and learning about the sciences.