When in the elevator of a storage facility, moving what seemed like a never ending amount of stuff, a thought came to me, “how much stuff do we need?” Do we need 5 tv’s for our 2 bedroom apartment? Do we need 10 pairs of blue jeans? How about a PS4, Xbox 1, PS3 AND a Xbox 360? When does it become too much? Or is it that we acquire these things to take the place of people?
“A house is not a home.” Luther Vandross famously crooned these words. We could have a wonderful place to live yet still not have a life. We could have the most luxurious automobile yet still not have anyplace to go. We could have the company of all the “Dead Presidents” yet still feel lonely. There are so many sayings regarding the subject; money can’t hold you at night, or you can’t take it with you when you go, or you won’t be wishing you spent more time working on your deathbed but rather wishing you spent more time working on your relationships with people.
It’s not the accumulation of stuff that should bring value to our lives but rather the accumulation of experiences, relationships, and breath taking moments.
At an earlier part in my life I resided with my Great Grandmother in the Webster Projects in The South Bronx. During that time period we did not have much by way of things yet some of my fondest memories come from that time period. During this time I developed a relationship with my “Grandma” where I first learned about God, prayer, the power of making a decision. It’s where I had my first crush, a bully, and first learned about race. It’s here where having a coconut icee was the highlight of my week, watching Gilligan’s island with my brother was the highlight of my day and when someone opened the fire hydrant in the summer it was the same excitement a kid has on Christmas day. Looking back these were some of my happiest times and that enjoyment didn’t stem from having the latest fashion, I actually had to wear the same thing to school everyday. What I enjoyed were the simple things; a 10 cent treat, brotherly bonding over a show that ended over 20 years earlier, or learning about life from a person who’s grandparents were slaves.
Later on when we were in a better financial situation, it wasn’t experiences or people that became the focus but rather acquiring things. I distinctly remember being upset when my Dad gave me the game Turok for N64 instead of the most desired game of the season, Golden Eye. Imagine, I as a child, was furious at my Dad for taking his hard earned money and deciding to buy me a new game console with a game and because it wasn’t the one that I wanted, I acted like a spoiled brat and didn’t appreciate the gift. I didn’t know what it was like to work 16 hours a day or miss out on meals and make other sacrifices to be able to provide me with a luxury. I didn’t understand value and it became about loving things and using people instead of the other way around.
So how did I go from a 10-cent icee bringing me joy to being upset over a $50 video game? Losing perspective over what is important. It’s not the accumulation of stuff that should bring value to our lives but rather the accumulation of experiences, relationships, and breath taking moments.
Don’t exist to be collector of things. Live for Great moments with Great people!
Jay The Motivator