Back To The Future
I came home one day and it was all gone.
If my 28 year-old self would
have walked into the home of my 30 year-old self, he would have thought he'd
Where did all of my stuff go? He would have
I worked so hard to buy all of that stuff, and
now it's all gone!
My 28 year-old self would
have panicked when he noticed that over 90% of his stuff was no longer there.
It was gone. Vanished. Poof! He had given so much meaning to that stuff-the
car, the clothes, the gadgets, the trappings of a consumer culture that he was
a part of-but that stuff didn't have any real meaning.
He was part of the disease, not the cure.
There were so many lessons he learned in those
of us know that Tyler Durden quote about how you are not your khakis, right?
Well, suffice it to say, many of my learned lessons were similar to that quote.
I am not my stuff. I am not
my jeans. I am not my television. I am not my car. I am not my bank account. I
am not my vocation.
I am so much more. I am who
I am on the inside. I do amazing things, yet I am imperfect. I accomplish
incredible feats, yet I make mistakes. I am a caring person, yet I forget about
important things from time to time. I am proud of who I am as a person, yet I
make bad decisions sometimes. I am a human being, a mixed bag. I am just like
And this is what I learned…
Stuff is just stuff. It can
be replaced. You cannot. Stuff is not important. There are plenty of things
that are important in life. Stuff is not on that list.
Important things in my life
include my health, my relationships with other people, pursuing my passions,
growing as an individual, and, most importantly, contributing to other people
in a meaningful way.
You can not purchase a meaningful life. You
can only live it, one day at a time.
Donating 90% of My Stuff:
But I wasn't robbed. It didn't
happen over night. I didn't wake up one day and get rid of the vast majority of
It took time.
It started with a pair of
khakis that I didn't wear, grew into an entire basement of clothes that no
longer fit, and expanded from there, one item at a time.
Once I got rid of one thing, I started
questioning other things in my life.
Questioning My Stuff
I started asking myself
better questions to get to the root of why I had all this stuff that I didn't
need (or even want most of the time).
Why did I buy this?
What could I have used that
money for instead? Do I really need this?
What would happen if I didn't
have this anymore? Could I replace this if I really needed to?
Can someone else use this more than I can?
I kept questioning my
possessions and started getting rid of more and more stuff. A carload of
clothes here, a piece of furniture there, one thing at a time, donating the
majority of it. And then…
I came home one day last
week, walked in, and realized that I didn't own much stuff anymore. I realized
I could have less stuff and still be happy, still live a meaningful life.
I will continue to question
my stuff. Do I need this couch even though I rarely sit on it? Do I need these
jeans when I have two other pairs? Do I need this watch when my phone has a
clock on it? Do I need this, that, or the other?
A Certain Kind Of Prison
It's important to note that
I don't think physical possessions are inherently evil or wrong or pernicious.
I just think we give too much meaning to our stuff, stuff that doesn't really
matter at all. Every dollar
we spend on stuff is a dollar we have to work for, which takes our time away
from us. Our precious time. Our time is our freedom. Thus our stuff has the
potential to rob us of our freedom.
So maybe I was robbed. Robbed by my stuff. Robbed of my freedom.
No more though. I am in control now. I am
aware that I am not my stuff.