“Things are not important, people are,” this echoes in my mind constantly and I regurgitate it to my kids. But truth be told, some things are important, they matter and when I lose them it hurts.
We are told that this world is a temporary abode, that our true goal is heaven where we cannot take things from this world, so things are ultimately not important in the grand scheme of things. Agreed that family, kids, friends, enjoying time spent with loved ones, knowledge, skills learnt, moral values are all more important than things, but some things hold the most precious part of a person, their memories.
So does valuing things I have make me materialistic? I do not own very much in the way of jewellery – I love wearing what I own, and the part that makes it special is that every piece of jewellery I own is a gift, or belonged to my grandmother/mother/aunt/sister and when I wear a piece it’s like I am on a yellow brick road to nostalgia. It makes me feel loved and warm inside. Not because the piece is gold/silver, but because the person associated with it loves me, we spent time together and have memories and ties that bind – something no one can snatch away from me. Losing a piece means losing that easy access to memories and times that I cherished, that eventually will get passed down from generation to generation.
Having said that, not everything evokes memories and acquiring things for the sake of keeping up with the neighbours is just plain insane or making friends with someone just because of their bank balance, now that would be materialistic. But cherishing things because of the memories associated with them and not wanting to part with them makes you normal. Less is not more, but….as Frank Lloyd Wright put it aptly –
So my new ‘rules’ are:
- I will not apologise for who I am and what I do.
- I will push myself to do more, expect more and accept more.
- Understand that what makes me happy might not make my husband/kids/family happy, but we still love and care about each other.
- Spend more time with the kids, enjoy their achievements and share their joys/sorrows.
- Perfection is attainable, but not always suitable, it is okay to be average.
- “My material desires have a spiritual aspect” (Happier at Home – Gretchen Rubin)