A good friend recommended an article to me in the New York Times. It is all about "stuff" and "happiness". It is well worth the time if you have it but if you don't it says in a nutshell that Americans are learning that things don't make you happy. Well, duh. Someone who did research on happiness found that the quality of our relationships is more a factor of happiness than a new car and a huge flat screen tv. Well, duh. And the wonderful last line of the article says, “Give away some of your stuff,” she advises. “See how it feels.” Which reminds me to tell you all that giving away my things feels so very good. Remember a few days ago when I had momentary pangs of regret that I'm not selling them and getting money for them? I got rid of it all and having that open space in my home and the little receipt from the Goodwill makes me immensely happy. I feel generous, but not in the way you might think. It isn't that I'm helping others by donating all those things that I no longer need. Frankly, I question the value of some of that stuff to anyone on the planet. It is more that the feelings I have for myself are changing. I feel like the less I have the more of myself there is to give and to share with others. I see it happening already and can clearly project the value of being able to give freely of myself when I won't need to be working to support all this infrastructure. I love the notion of having a positive footprint. The article also talks about getting your possessions down to 100. I'm not sure I'm supportive of this approach. I mean, is a pair of shoes one item or two? What about tools that enable you to collect cast off materials and turn them into useful things? Each drill bit I own counting towards an arbitrary 100 doesn't make much sense to me. How about just getting rid of everything that you don't use or don't absolutely love? Just get rid of everything that has been stuffed into a closet/garage/attic and hasn't come out to play in a year.
I thought long and hard about this next part. I'm on vacation right now, sharing a wonderful experience with one of my daughters. I asked her if she would rather I gave her money or take a few days and spent them with her and she said there was no question that the time was much more valuable than the money. This from a girl who lives below the poverty level and is putting herself through college largely by being frugal. The cost of three days in San Francisco put into her bank account would be significant. Anyway, getting out of town was hectic and I didn't amass items to list while I'm gone. So I have choices, I can try to think of things that I know need to go on the pile and list them or I can simply lie and make it up (how would you know?) or I can simply defer and promise to gather up the stuff when I get home. I have to go with the latter as a matter of integrity. So....
I'll fill in these blanks on my Tuesday post!
From the New York Times:
But Will it Make You Happy?
Gypsy Tour Map