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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Don't Equate "Happiness" with "Stuff"

Here's a bumper sticker you'll never see on my car (if I ever have a car again):

"The one who dies with the most toys wins!"

Yes, I realize that some who sport it are being sarcastic. But when it's on a 40-foot motor home, or the trailer of a speed boat, it's hard not to see it as a statement of personal philosophy.

In contrast, these lines from the Tracy Chapman song, "Mountains o' Things," kill me:

I won't die lonely
I'll have it all prearranged
A grave that's deep and wide enough
For me and all my mountains o' things

I've just spent a few days in America dealing with a small part of my "mountains o' things," trying to sort and shed the excess that has lain in storage all these years. At times like these, it's easy to see "stuff" as a burden rather than as a source of happiness. (Those of you who have ever moved know what I mean.)

"You can't take it with you," they say; and, "There are no pockets in a shroud." The stuff we accumulate won't go with us, and won't ease our journey on the way. On the contrary, it can drag us down.

So appreciate what you have, but stop thinking of "stuff" as happiness, or security, or contentment. Realize that the real "stuff" is all inside you.

You'll be happier.

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