As a mum of two one of the most dreaded fears I have is of loosing one of their "special toys". You know what I mean - the dirty, ragged, lanky, manky teddy bear that has spent the last few years surgically glued to their head- especially at night time. So when my youngest lost Knight - a stuffing-less, smelly, fairly ugly but beloved black toy cat, the house was in turmoil. Turned upside down to search for him, internet scoured for possible replacements (which won't be the same because it will a- have stuffing b- not have scuffed up eyes and c- will smell clean).
A thing- be that a favourite toy, a book or your favourite dress is not superficial. Sure it could be replaced, it doesn't have feelings and it can't replace the love and connection you have with real people, but these things we surround ourselves with are endowed with stories and emotions from our daily life. Just as my son associates Knight with warmth and comfort at bedtime, a favourite coat may be associated with the time you unexpectedly reunited with an old school friend, and every time you wear it you are reminded of that connection and of your youth, or that new car in the drive way is not just a super car which make you look flash but when you see it perhaps you see all the hard work and achievements you went through to get it. Or that new phone your bought for yourself with your first ever paycheck which signifies your independence.
It is one of the reasons I adore vintage so much, a true vintage piece has layers of history, stories and emotions to it. The previous owners and then your own. There is something magical about the dress that was loving hand made in the 1940s with ingenious tweaks to get round rationing to make it beautiful, then it will have been worn through one of the most testing times of the owners life and become associated with all those emotions, in the intervening time who knows who owed it or wore it and then maybe one day you find it in a shop wear it for your own (far lass dramatic hopefully) testing or emotional occasion and a new emotion becomes attached to it.
These "things" in our lives do not have to be just symbols of wealth or status or superficiality as so many people believe, they are can be looked at as symbols of experience and living, of emotions the owner has with that item that by simply looking at them you would have no idea. Of course it is unwise to put too much emphasis on them or to put thing desires before people, actual experiences or emotions, but we should never feel guilty for enjoying the things we have in our lives and admitting that actually yes that thing does make me feel happy!