If I described to you what has happened with my living situation over the last 6 months, you would not believe it.
I will spare all the details, but I will tell you that it has been capped off with my family being forced to vacate the most recent place we were living…immediately. Told to leave everything we own behind. Everything.
Now, if you have read a lot of what I have written, you probably deduced that I am not driven by material things. I don’t really know why. I just never have been. It is not to say I don’t like nice things. I do. Would I rather drive a nicer car or live in a nicer apartment? Of course. Does that stuff mean that much to me? No.
So, being forced to abandon everything, I should be very Zen about this. I should be preaching to you all about how this doesn’t affect me. And how far above it I am. About how great I am.
I can’t do that. I haven’t been above it. I haven’t been great about this.
I don’t really understand why. It’s not like I am leaving anything of incredible monetary value. I didn’t leave a Picasso on the wall or a $100,000 watch in my dresser. Probably the highest value items we had…was a couch or a TV. But I’m not emotionally attached to that stuff. So who cares, right?
But I do care.
A little while back, these Nike Air Max Grand Piano’s designed by Jay Chou came out. There were only 400 ever made. And I got a pair. Some people didn’t love them. I did. It sounds ridiculous, a grown man caring about a pair of sneakers, but I care.
I know it’s a little thing. But it’s all the little things. A favorite pair of jeans…gone. A favorite jacket…gone. A video camera with memories of my kids being born and growing up…gone.
I know one of the first thoughts in your head is probably financial. We are dealing with insurance, and that should be resolved. The next concern would be my kids. This is like an adventure to them. They have seemingly never been happier. My wife, who is considerably more materially conscious than I, couldn’t care less. I am proud of her. And the kids.
Then there is me.
I have been more irritable. I have gotten really angry a few times. Taking it out on innocent people and inanimate objects. I have struggled with this, more than I ever thought I would.
But last night, I realized something. Like every other night, I made the sign of the cross and thanked a god that I’m not even sure I even believe in, for everything I have. I always thank him for people, and opportunities, and good health. Never once did I thank him for that jacket or that pair of jeans. Or those stupid sneakers. I never thanked him for anything I ever bought or owned. Or anything that was bought for me. I would only thank him for the person who gave something to me. I didn’t thank him for the video camera with all those memories. I thank him for the moments that have burned all those memories onto my brain.
I know this is a bit cliche, but the things you own don’t define whether you have more or less.
I am down to a couple pairs of jeans. One suit. A few t-shirts. I don’t even own a belt yet.
Someone asked me how I was doing this morning. And I responded immediately, ‘Great.’ And I really am. The things in my life that need to be going well for me to feel good, are really good. So this bad atitude about these sneakers, about this situation, is finished.
When it comes to happiness, and a general state of well being, there is no such thing as more. There is what you need. And there is less. Right now I have exactly what I need. And absolutely nothing more.