I went for my morning run (well, actually, I bitched and moaned about getting into and out of a cold car while traveling to my health club, so I could spend 45 minutes with my favorite treadmill), but you get it…I ran.
I got home about an hour later; I cleaned up, grabbed my 9 year old and we “hit the town”. A bit dramatic for a Sunday morning, but I’d promised him some Dad time, so we grabbed an early lunch and then went to watch Mr. Peabody and Sherman.
We got to the theatre a bit early, as I incorrectly read my Fandango app, so with about an hour to kill before the show, I did what any father would do when he isn’t in the presence of his better half…I promised to go BUY stuff for my son (and for me). We talked about a couple of ideas (most of which revolved around pet stores), but we finally landed on a place that suited both of us; the book store. I read pretty regularly and my kids do too, so both of us smiled on the agreed upon location and we made a quick stop to buy some solid reading material. After a couple philosophy books, a sticker book for my little girl, the divergent trilogy and some book about dragons, swords and fantasy world domination (my sons are obsessed with medieval times), my American Express had enough and we bounced back to the movies.
A good flick and a few hours later, I’m pondering my intense joy from acquiring things. Buying shit makes me feel good, end of story. It’s kind of funny, but yes, I like to buy (not shop, shopping is the worthless exercise of pondering over items), I’m talking about walk in, staying focused and grabbing things to be purchased. I like buying. Technology, pictures, books, phones, lap tops, puzzles, clothes (running, work, casual, bar, etc), televisions, golf clubs, bocce sets (who doesn’t want to play bocce), lawn jarts (don’t pretend you don’t like playing lawn games), bikes, skateboards…the list goes on and on.
From my intense interest in material acquisition, you’d think my family might be on the next episode of “hoarders”, but I promise you, it’s not that bad. We have a clean house, a garage that holds two cars and an attic that still has plenty of room to walk around. I just enjoy spending what I have. At a certain point, one begins to question how much is enough. If you are beginning to wonder how the hell I transitioned this article from a pleasant day at the movies to a quest for understanding the power of materialism, please hold on, I’m getting to the point.
Last night my family went to mass, followed by a religious education session for my kids. We watched a re-enactment of the “Beatitudes”, which was a historic speech delivered by Jesus Christ, where he educates the masses on his secret of life and the happiness and joy this secret would create. Some of you may recognize the core messages…blessed are the meek, blessed are the peace keepers, blessed are the humble, etc.
In short, my religion and my God work to keep me pointed in a direction of humility and living for love and life, not the “need” for stuff (so I’ve been contemplating a shift in my “buy stuff” mentality) and I wanted to run the idea by you.
Layer over yesterday’s mass, a great morning with my son and then a movie about a time traveling dog (the characters visit cool places in history and see times where “stuff” did not rule the world…see, I can even philosophize about cartoon movies) and a few hours of wonder later…BAM, you have the makings of an article.
My son, Brecken, made a comment on the way home from our morning together, “Dad, what a great day”. He followed with, “I love just being around”, don’t you?
These were wise words from an over scheduled 9-year old boy. For the first time in 30 weeks, we haven’t had anywhere to go (we had no practices, no games and no school events), so the places we chose this morning didn’t require our phones, or the most luxurious wardrobe or the most up to date technology. Simply stated, we had time with each other. All of this made me think about “my stuff”. I guess I’m wondering what it would be like if I pared down, if society pared down and what impact it would have on our lives? Could we live without all of those “things” that help create the illusion of security or that feel good sensation? If we did pare down from the stuff and shifted our attention to each other, would we be able to reconnect at a deeper level? Would we become more focused friends, employees, parents, loved ones? We probably would.
I’m not sure how this will all impact me in the weeks or months that follow, but I’m comfortable with exploring, so here’s the challenge. After I post this, I’m going to work with my wife and children to begin reducing. Get ready Goodwill…it’s game time! We are going to pare down a bit, I’ll refrain from some of those impulse purchases and we’ll get to see what we can do with each other, instead of with our things. Yes, Brecken, I guess it does feel pretty good to just “be around”.