The following three stories of loss happened to dear friends of mine.
A young lady I know – an aspiring minimalist – worked hard and saved for years to be able to buy a new car. Not a Ferrari or a Mercedes, but a Honda. This was a car she had dreamed about owning. She had few personal possessions but felt strongly about having safe, reliable transportation for herself and her daughter. After purchasing the car, she took incredible care of it. She maintained and cleaned it like it was the last car she would ever own. While sitting at an intersection recently she was ploughed into by a truck, driving her forward into another vehicle. She was not badly hurt, but the car was hit hard enough to buckle the floor and be rendered a total loss. The driver of the truck had no insurance.
One family very close to me was immigrating to a foreign country – another continent actually. The mother and two daughters had moved, taking with them all the items they could including some clothes, toiletries, and a few personal possessions. The father and son stayed behind to supervise the shipping of all the other items. The night before the items were to be loaded onto a ship for transport, the father took a phone call from the port where the storage container was located. There had been a huge fire at the port. Almost everything they owned had been destroyed. Clothing, furniture, pictures, and mementos were reduced to ashes. The few possessions that remained were heavily damaged or soaked with water. A family of five with two dogs suddenly had little more than the clothes on their back.
A couple I know decided to file for divorce after five years of marriage. Prior to separating, the husband went away on a business trip. The wife, believing it was an affair, packed all his clothes and personal belongings that she could fit into her car. The items were then taken to a supermarket dumpster and disposed of.
There is a theme to all this. All the things you own can be taken away from you in the blink of an eye. No matter how well made or durable the product, possessions are always temporary. People that have been struck by natural disasters know this. People that have been robbed or had their home burglarized know this. Nothing you own is truly safe and secure. From money to mansions, any item you possess may not be yours tomorrow.
Here is the tricky part to sink your teeth into. Because material possessions are fleeting, they have absolutely no value other than what we assign to them. That’s right, everything you own is worth a grand total of zilch. For example, you would not give a red cent for a moth-eaten dirty blanket. It’s worthless to you and I. To a homeless child, it might be priceless. We assign value based on our needs and wants, not on actual value. The things that we should value above all else are truly priceless; love, companionship, happiness. Please notice that none of those are possessions.
Look around at what you have. Examine your stuff. Now put a real value on those items. Some of your possessions may truly have worth. Heirlooms, pictures, and videos are usually the items that have the highest value in our lives. Now seriously decide if the rest of your “stuff” is worth keeping. If you feel that it might be worth some cold hard cash, sell it. If it’s not worth your time, donate it. If it’s junk, find a way to recycle it.
Now for the good part.
With less stuff to buy and manage, you will have more time, money, and energy. Wouldn’t it be a great idea to spend them on those priceless things that will bring you real happiness?
Sounds like a valuable idea to me.