Treasure Hunters

The following is an excerpt from an article that I wrote for The New Betty.

This morning I walked into an antiques store. Amongst oddities and curios – a barbers chair and a birdcage – I dug for buried treasure. Dappled light and brass melodies lent the scene a nostalgic feel. Film noir playing out in real time.

Curiouser and curiouser. I had to wonder: Why did I walk into that shop in the first place?

Change, Identity and Dreams

Shopping is more than a necessity, or even a hobby – it falls at the intersection of change, identity and dreams.

In a consumer culture, it becomes difficult to separate who we are from what we own. Our identity becomes the sum total of our stuff. This is known as the aestheticization of everyday life, where the most mundane of products – a coffee mug for instance – become an opportunity for self-expression.

Shopping is aspirational. Marketing and advertisements reflect back at us our idealized versions of our selves. We are sold our aspirations.

Fashion can provide a bridge between our present and our future; our reality and our dreams. At the start of summer I will by a new bikini – my purchase becomes a physical touchstone of my imagined future. I have attempted to ground my dreams in reality.

Problems and Solutions

The problem: Our dreams do not always track with reality. So long as we define ourselves by the things we own we only make changes on a surface level.

If we are really to work towards a better future we need to separate who we are from what we have. Once we know our true self – away from all our stuff – we can make changes towards becoming an authentic and self-actualized person.

You can find the full article here.

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