Pause before Purchase
During recent years I've done quite a bit of moving. I went from a 4000 square foot house to a 1500 square foot condo. Then split my time between the 1500 square foot condo and 2700 square foot home. Now I'm in a 2000 square foot home. After my husband passed, I somehow figured more change was yet to come. So, I told myself I was going to bring as little "things" as possible into the home. Wouldn't you know, I soon moved.
Moving into this smaller space and trying to figure out what to do with all my stuff, at times I was overcome with a sense of guilt and gluttony. I mean when is enough, enough? Then the holidays came and I seemed to be caught up in a spending spree. During my new year's evaluation of my life and what changes (resolutions) to make, I once again told myself it was time to just stop the spending. My house is full. It looks great! I need nothing more. I have more clothes to wear than places to go.
In a New York Times Op Ed column titled "The Evolution of Simplicity" by David Brooks, he says "Early in life you choose your identity by getting things. But later in an affluent life you discover or update your identity by throwing away what is no longer useful, true and beautiful." He then further says "That's an exercise in identity discovery, an exercise in realizing and then prioritizing your current tastes and beliefs. People who do that may instinctively be seeking higher forms of pruning: being impeccable with your words, parsimonious but strong with your commitments, disciplined about your time, selective abourt your friendships, moving generally from fragmentation toward unity of purpose." In closing, David offers "In a world of rampant materialism and manifold opportunities, many people these days are apparantly learning who they are by choosing what they can do without."
This really struck a chord with me. I live in a pretty affluent neighborhood. It's so easy to get a case of the envies and caught up in "keeping up with the Jones's". But, as I walk thru my beautiful neighborhood, I tell myself I have all I need. And I get to share in the beauty of the hood. So what if my house isn't as spectacular as theirs?
At the same time, even though I tell myself I need to socialize more and expand the network of people in my life, I've also discovered that I don't want to give my time to those who don't bring me a sense of joy or pleasure. Initially I told myself I was being too narrow-minded. But, ultimately I realize that it is indeed the right thing to monitor not only what but also who I bring into my life. Thanks David.