Maybe that’s why I’ve clung to ‘things’, worried that I might just need them some day. At one time my basement was lined with unmarked boxes of 'things' that I didn’t even know I had, but I couldn’t bring myself to part with them.
In 2000 I trekked through villages in the mountains of Nepal where, other than the time they spend in very basic shelters to protect them from the environment, the people live outside. The children ran up and down the mountains like goats and always had enormous smiles on their faces.
I’m not saying that I understand what hardships the mountain people might have, but for the most part, they somehow appeared amazingly happier than North Americans. I came home from that trip and looked around my home and wondered why I needed so much ‘stuff’.
I made some life changes after that trip and temporarily shared a house with another woman for a year while I tried to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. Being an all-or-nothing kind of person, I did a major purge and fit everything I had left into 2 bedrooms and a small storage unit. It felt like freedom.
Future Shop has a brochure at their counters that says: DON'T FIX IT, REPLACE IT! How environmentally irresponsible. Shame on them!
I now live in a 4 bedroom house (5 if you count the basement guest room) and I once again own more things than I need. But I buy fewer things and the purging is easier now because I know it’s just ‘stuff’. While I do appreciate some items that are special to me and enjoy what I have, those things have never brought me happiness. What has brought me happiness is: time spent with people I love, nature, travel to places where I learned something about myself and others, simple pleasures like the feel of bare feet on a warm deck, or doing something for someone in need.
Happiness comes from spiritual wealth, not material wealth... Happiness comes from giving, not getting. If we try hard to bring happiness to others, we cannot stop it from coming to us also. To get joy, we must give it, and to keep joy, we must scatter it.
-- John Templeton