The things you own end up owning you. – Fight Club
I’ve never seen Fight Club, but when I looked for a quote that fit with the post I wanted to write, this one really conveyed my intent. When I was a little girl, and my parents were still married, we moved a lot. I only remember one house that we lived in, and it was the last house we all lived in together. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it had a big back yard and a really cool barn that I liked to play in. I would ride my bike in the alley behind it, and wait in the front yard for my father to come home from a run. We had some really wacko neighbors across the street, and some fantastic ones right next door. Life seemed really good there.
But this is the house where my parents ultimately decided to go their separate ways. There were fights, and times where the house wasn’t much fun at all. Eventually, they decided to divorce, and my mother and I moved away. I don’t really remember how I felt about leaving the house. I suspect I was more upset about leaving our neighbors than I was the house, but I’m sure tears were shed. Looking back on it now after going through my own divorce, and leaving that house, I’m very glad my mother decided to move. I’m glad that she wasn’t so tied to that life and that house, that she stayed in a miserable relationship.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying the things you own. There’s nothing wrong with making your house a home, and enjoying the time you spend in it. I have a small apartment, and I have lived here a long time. I like it a lot. It’s nothing fancy, but my pictures are on the wall, my kids things are laying about, and there’s good stuff here. But, your stuff should never tie you down to a life you don’t love. My mother shouldn’t have stayed married to a miserable man just to keep our house, or cars, or a certain way of life. Your stuff should never own you.
I don’t really have a lot of things. I don’t have a big fancy house. But lately, I’ve been looking around and thinking about how much the little I do own, still owns me. How I still hold some fear about losing the things I own. The things don’t matter at all, and it is easy to forget that. It is easy to get wrapped up in all that you have amassed and created, to forget who you even are and what you really want. What matter is how you feel. Are you living a lifestyle with things that you love, but feeling miserable over all? Will you be happier if you stay there, or release the attachment to the things, and build the life you really love wherever that works best?
Overall, I’m pretty happy with my life. But, my stuff still owns me more that I think it should. I think it is time to get to a place where I know that if I lost every bit of my stuff that it wouldn’t matter as long as the people in my life remained. I want to know that I can create our happiness with a lot or with a little, and anywhere we choose.