tzizh, are you also from SA then? I presume you left long ago then?
You are right that our stuff often owns us. It is hard to walk away from that which you have built or made productive, especially if walking away means starting over with nothing. I think in a situation such as we have in SA where the decline has been going on for decades, folks have had time to continually adjust to the new normal again and again. It is probably easier to know it is time to go when there is an abrupt change. There is probably also something about human nature that make us think that “it won’t happen to me” even when you see it happening to many others.