The subject of my blog for this month comes from a conversation I had the other day with a friend about all the "stuff" we accumulate as we go through life. Okay, to be honest, the conversation started with talking about all the "crap" I have boxed up from cleaning out the old house. But this happened to be one of those rare occasions where we took the conversation below surface level, and went deep into some more thought-provoking material.
We, as humans, begin accumulating stuff almost immediately after we're born. First it's my mommy, my daddy--and then fairly quickly moves on to my blankie, my bottle, etc... As we get older, the more expensive our "stuff" becomes that we acquire. With teenagers it's my phone, my laptop, and eventually...my car. Which ultimately eases us into adulthood where we acquire houses, better cars, boats,...horses...just anything and everything we're into.
And of course we also acquire the more important things as well: spouses, children, friends.
Somewhere along the way, someone wiser than us, or at least more enlightened, reminds us that we shouldn't be getting caught up in the accumulation of material things. Because we can't take it with us when we go, right? I wonder if there was ever a person who, on their death bed, reminisced lovingly about their car or boat as their final thoughts. I kind of doubt it but you never know, I suppose. I would assume that most people, coming to the end of their lives, would focus on their family and friends, and reflect on the good life they'd had with them. I know it's not always the case, but it's a nice idea.
But I also don't think that accumulating certain material things is necessarily always a bad thing. I mean, we can't take it with us, for sure. But we CAN leave it to our children or other family members or friends, right? I feel like there's a certain amount of comfort afforded to you from passing your house or car or other treasure on to someone you love. Almost like a part of you they can hold onto after you're gone.
Obviously there's limits, though. I can imagine there could be things passed down that might be considered more of a nuisance than a blessing. Like...oh I don't know...a large herd of horses, for instance...and the massive feed bill that comes with them. Just a random example...
So clearly there's a line to be drawn when deciding how much is too much. Rest assured I will not be the one telling anyone else where that line should be. That's a highly personal decision each person must make for themselves. I will say, however, that this discussion has for sure helped clarify where my own line should be.
Unless you've lived your life in a highly enlightened state, you've accumulated some stuff that won't make the cut when you draw your line. I know I have. But thankfully, in this day of Ebay, Craigslist and Facebook, we have remedies for dispersing unwanted treasures that are much better options than the garage sales and flea markets our predecessors had to depend on. Okay I admit that may be a dubious distinction, but more options is always a good thing.
So when you come across your extensive collection of shot glasses, or costume jewelry or VHS tapes--you may want to consider lightening your load a bit. I'm guessing for the most part your family members will appreciate your pre-planning. And I've found that no matter what the treasure is, there will always be someone who wants it--will even cherish it! Don't misunderstand me--I'm not suggesting that you go all minimalist and get rid of everything. Unless that's what you like and then...go for it! But I'm fairly certain we can all use some prioritizing from time to time, and clearing the deck of all the chaff is often what we need to really see what's important to us.
And that's never a bad thing.
So I guess the consensus would be to just live your life and enjoy what you enjoy. If that's a car or boat--yay for you! If it's a shot glass collection...welll yay for you too! Make yourself happy! And if it's something you feel can make someone else happy later on then by all means, pass it on! If not, somewhere someone is scouring the marketplace ads searching for it, I promise. I'll be placing a few of those ads shortly myself.
You know what the important "stuff" is to you. We all do. The more of our time and attention we can give to that, and less to the other "stuff", the more joyful we'll all be.
And when it comes down to it, isn't that really what it's all about?
Now THAT'S the good stuff.