Before I left Central America and moved to Las Vegas, everything I owned fit into a backpack and a handful of boxes in my parents attic. Now, going on two years later, the list of things I own has grown from a backpack of volunteer hand-me-downs sequestered from an NGO-sponsored garage sale in Xela, Guatemala to a two-story house, a brand new 2013 Chevy Sonic, a wiener dog and a garage that every day is beginning to look more and more like a Goodwill donation center.
I now own furniture (furniture!) and appliances (including a brand-new fridge with an ice machine – If only my friends in Guatemala could see me now, huh?) and super duper suburbanite things like tool boxes, potted plants, a backyard fire pit, and patio furniture.
While some people (I.e, a good 95 percent of the planet) would be ecstatic to have even 1/8 of what I have, rather than feeling grateful, I just feel this perpetual sense of unease. Because the problem with collecting all this stuff is that the more material possessions I own, the harder it’ll be to just pack up and leave. With a 30-year mortgage, a six-year car payment and an anxiety-plagued dog to contend with, I already worry that I’ve passed the point of no return. It’s as though my two sofas, fake fireplace and mismatched bedroom set are like chains; immobilizing me for an eternity of “stay-in-one-place-ness”.
And it freaks me out.