How much is enough? Do we really need more than we have? What if we could finally come to the understanding that what we have right this minute is really and truly enough? Those, my readers, are not my words but a descriptive review of the Will Davis Jr.’s new book “Enough: Finding More by Living with Less.” The book was recommended by Susie Davis, whose blog “The Good News Girl” is one of my favorites. It arrived in my in-box as I was writing my recent blog about the little things in life, in which I talked about loving simple daisies over extravagant roses. I also included one of my favorite quotes, “enough is as good as a feast,” from Mary Poppins, and it got me thinking.
I’ll admit it: I’m a pack rat. A major pack rat. My husband would agree and would probably go so far as to say I’m a hoarder, even though I guarantee he’s never seen or heard of the reality TV show. I say it’s because I’m so nostalgic. He’d say it’s because I’m crazy. Thankfully, I am an organized pack rat. I know just where everything is, even though those “things” should probably be donated or in the nearest landfill.
Whatever the case, when do we ever have enough? When are we satisfied? We live in a society that stresses more…more money, more stuff, more power, more everything. In his book, Davis challenges us to move away from this type of thinking and instead discover the peace that comes through contentment with what we have and compassion for those in need. His goal is to show us the rewards of living with less in order to be more and do more with our lives. Sounds simple enough, right?
I don’t watch “Hoarders” but I am newly addicted to Pinterest. Many say it is the on-line version of hoarding, and I gotta kinda agree. My boards do consist of cool ideas and tips, but some are just collections of things I love and cherish. But, isn’t it more important to collect moments, not things? How do we become not just happy, but truly content?
George Lorimer once said “it’s good to have money and the things money can buy, but it’s also good to check once in awhile to make sure you haven’t lost the things money can’t buy.” And what would those be? I believe they are faith, family, friends and good health. Without those, nothing else really matters, right? They should be the “things” we strive to attain and cherish. Sadly, I don’t always practice what I preach.
Maybe I should take a personal challenge and not buy one thing for a certain amount of time. I would probably discover that my life would not suffer a bit from doing so. Do I really need another frame, another pair of shoes, or another end table? I’m hearing a resounding NO!
My friend Christie is probably saying it the loudest. She of the exquisite taste and fabulous wardrobe, but, she of recently selling her stunning Florida home with everything in it. WHAT????? No way! When she told me, I about fainted. I think I’d rather bungee jump then sell my house with EVERYTHING in it! What’s the lesson here though? The more things you own, the more they own you.
So true and so what got our country into the current debt crisis. “I can’t afford that huge house with a pool but the bank will lend me the money anyway so let’s get into debt up to our eyeballs and buy it anyway.” There will always be someone with bigger, better and more things than you. Rather than envy, I often sympathize with those who live in Hollywood or anywhere where money is abundant, as the competition to keep up with the Joneses must be exhausting. Maybe that’s why they turn to plastic surgery and substance abuse so often. They own everything and have been everywhere, the only thing left to change is ME and then numb the inevitable dissatisfaction I have with everything. An exaggeration? Probably, but maybe ever so slightly accurate. A pretty face doesn’t always mean a pretty heart, and it certainly doesn’t always mean a happy heart. Some people are so poor all they have is money and still others have more money then sense.
One of my favorite children’s authors was Maurice Sendack, who recently died. I keep a favorite quote of his on my refrigerator: “There must be more to life than having everything.” Yes, Mr. Sendack, there must be. To find that life, maybe the secret is simply not letting the things you want make you forget the things you have. It’s called being grateful and it just might be the real secret to genuine happiness and to finding what’s truly “the right stuff.”
Organizing your things (getting rid of them) is an ongoing battle even for someone that isn’t a hoarder. It is like laundry or cleaning the house. Just when you think you have finished the last of the laundry and have everything back in the proper closet or drawer, you put the empty laundry basket back and, lo and behold, someone has discarded something they were wearing back in the farthest corner…. then the cycle starts all over again. I hate when I become a slave to my stuff…it gives me a feeling of being more out of control than I like. It is like going into your closet full of clothes and saying, “I don’t have anything to wear!” , when you know that is not the truth. “Look at all those clothes!!!” I go thru my clothes and try on everything in my closet; mentally dealing with the fact that I will never get into the size 10’s or 8’s, then pack them up for charity. I only keep the clothes that I can wear now. When I go back into my cleaned out closet, I breathe a sigh of relief because it’s so easy to pick out something to wear (even though I still wish that I was 2 sizes smaller). Those clothes were there all along but I was overwhelmed with stuff and unable to see clearly just what I had. I wish I could tell you that solved the problem but I will be back in that same closet in 6 months and the process will start all over again…..just like the laundry. Leslie