I don’t need … things to make me happy. A nice quiet place to unwind at the end of the day, beautiful views, a few good friends. What else is there? ~ Nicholas Sparks
I chuckle as I look at the beginnings of this post. First the title approached me all on its own. Days later I found this quote which seemed to support the title. Then I remembered Dr. Seuss’s “things” and I couldn’t resist bringing them along. I think they lend levity to what could be a serious, even heavy, topic. My love of Dr. Seuss grows day by day. Who else has consistently encouraged children (and their parents) to make up a word that sounds right when you can’t think of an appropriate, existing word? Love it!
Back to the topic at hand. For several months I have been thinking about my years of accumulating “things.” Why did I ever imagine I needed so much stuff? And why do I keep things I no longer use? (I can honestly say I’m making progress on this one.) When I moved here I was aware that one person didn’t need this much space but I needed room for my stuff.
I spent a great deal of time alone when we lived in the mountains and I often got very lonely. I would go shopping just to get out of the house. And the house was so big that I could always find a new rug, a piece of pottery, a painting to enhance its appearance. I occasionally bought clothing, but more often it was something for my showplace of a house. It’s as if I were trying to fix a gaping wound with a band-aid. (I got that last sentence from my oldest daughter.) There was a hole in my soul and I was trying to fill it in all the wrong ways.
Now as I sift through my belongings I feel sad, embarrassed, greedy, overwhelmed, selfish. I could go on with the adjectives without even consulting a thesaurus. Suffice to say I don’t like who I was, but I’m now making positive changes. I cringe when I think about those years and realize I could have been supporting several third world families on the money I spent on stuff. What was I thinking?!
So here I sit in a house that is less than half the size of the previous one, yet it’s still big enough for a family of five or six. (Talk about a carbon footprint! Egad!) I’m trying to bide my time until the real estate market rebounds so I can sell this place and find a more appropriate home. I try not to think about the fact that the money could have been better invested since I truly believe I did the best I could under the circumstances and given the emotional trauma and pain I was in at the time.
I think I’m finally on the right track. I consider very carefully before I buy anything. I make better choices than I once did. I don’t buy things for the house. The house and I are becoming happier as the clutter decreases. They say that it sometimes takes a jolt, a shock, even a tragedy to force a needed change on some people, so I guess they’re talking about me. As I inch toward the person I really am, the person I’m meant to be, the trauma and pain continue to diminish. One day, maybe I’ll be able to look back and thank D for this divorce.
Writing this caused me to cry a little, but not too much. And now I feel better. If you’ve read this far, thank you.