As I write we have been on the road 19 days. Me, my husband, my two kids, and our camping gear in our Prius. If ever we were to live as a minimalist it is during this time. We will be on the road about 6-7 weeks when we get done and after we pack sleeping bags and blankets to keep warm we sure don’t have much room for many more things.
It got me thinking…
I Don’t Need Things…
…to make me feel important
I don’t need the biggest, the shiny-est, the newest, the most. I don’t need things to prove either my bank account balance, my education, or my achievements.
It has taken some years, and probably maturity to learn, but things do a really poor job of this. I heard a great quote by a guy a few weeks ago at a museum. He said “I always assume people are smarter than me unless the prove otherwise’. It is too true. It doesn’t matter how fancy the dress, how expensive the car, or any other thing. If a person opens their mouth the true intelligence of the person is quickly revealed. I don’t know that I sound smart or successful, but dressing or owning the part wouldn’t do much for me.
…to remember things
I don’t need the magnet, the matching towel set, the shot glass or the tacky trinket, to remember my vacations. Just because I go somewhere new doesn’t mean I need to bring something back. It might have been the case for the early explorers…. but, not trying to be rude, it is now similar to ‘marking your territory’, just a habit every time we see something new. Like somehow a little spoon will prove to everyone back home that I did actually take the vacation I said I did.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not against all memory item. I am against the habitual collection of it. My best memories don’t have anything to do with things so why would I need a thing to help me remember it?
…to hold relationships
Just because someone gave me something doesn’t mean our relationship is now bound up in that item. …like somehow, if I get rid of it I may as well be getting rid of the person. I will admit that gifts are tricky, but holding a house full of old gifts doesn’t make a person any more social or have any better relationships than someone else.
…to hide behind
It is hard, but I really do what to know who I am. I want others to know who I am… the good, the bad, and the ugly. People can condemn others for running from their problems in the bottle but just as many or more run to things to hid from themselves or others. We have one life to live, to grow, to examine ourselves, to learn. What good does it do to pretend (to ourselves or others) that we are perfect .
…to make me happy
Money can buy happiness (cool TED talk) but stashing for myself has never produced more than slight momentary excitement… if that. It is interesting that getting new things really doesn’t provide happiness, but debt or breaking things often makes us very stressed or upset.
I need a ‘thing’ above my head, some ‘things’ to cover my body, some ‘things’ to eat, but beyond these and a few others I don’t need things. I need family, friends, God, time, knowledge, growth. These are things I need, and they aren’t ‘things’ at all.
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