“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.”Epicurus
When my husband and I first got together, the two of us had nothing between us but bedroom furniture. We spent our time hanging out in our bedroom because the apartment was empty. It was a great day when a friend offered us a couch they were throwing out! I don’t really remember wanting anything then.
Slowly, we acquired “things” – mainly of poor quality, but we felt like they were really nice compared to nothing! Then we sold them all and moved to Australia. We literally lived in a one bedroom converted shed with no heat/air…or much space at all. I remember wanting my kitchen stuff (most of which had been wedding gifts), and a camera – oh how BADLY I wanted a DSLR – I mean with that much natural beauty around who wouldn’t want to capture it?
I sit here now….in a house – a house that we saved, sacrificed, and searched for. It’s ours. While our income did not change – it decreased actually as I decided being a Mother was more important that any career I could have – we slowly found ways to have “nicer” higher quality things. We have fewer things, but better ones. There is no clutter. Things have meanings, a purpose, or it doesn’t make it through the door. I did finally get that camera (as a very generous gift), and while I didn’t work hard and scrimp and save I still know the value of owning something I wanted so badly.
What brought all this on was a comment from my Mother about how she still doesn’t know what she wants for Christmas. Really what she wants is to go away somewhere for a weekend, but they are so programmed into thinking that gifts and Christmas are all about having something to open. I grew up very spoiled at Christmas – though I got absolutely nothing throughout the year. I don’t really want my Daughter to be that way – and I have a different way of approaching Christmas to help her learn to be appreciative of things. *More on that later. I’m not religious, so Christmas to me is not about what Christians believe it to be about. That said, it’s also not about how many presents you have waiting under the tree. My mother was disappointed that I only wanted money for Christmas because I wouldn’t have anything to open…I’m planning to take any money I get from Christmas and my birthday from her, my husband, and my Dad and buy a new wider lens for my camera. It’s what I want, and what I will use. I don’t just want to get a bunch of “stuff” I don’t need (even though it would be nice to have), just for the sake of having something to open on Christmas day. I learned a long time ago how to let go of “instant gratification”. I’m fine with taking the time to save up for something when it is something I really want.
These days, I try to focus my wants on things that are not materialistic in nature. It is hard – the more things you acquire, the easier it is to want. I want a lens, and I found myself getting depressed that I couldn’t find one on sale with all the recent sales going on….that’s when I realized I needed to put my thoughts back into perspective. It’s just a camera lens…for a camera I went a long time wanting and not having to begin with. I needed a reminder that I’ve already gotten what I always wanted – to be content and happy with what life has given me (and what we have worked for hard for) – and if you have that, we’ll you don’t need much of anything else.