Pride of Ownership

Open-Arms“Pride of Ownership” is an illusion. A false sense of security. A concept that companies depend on to keep us consuming. The things we own are tools, nothing more. They are not our freedom. They are not our life. They are just tools to help facilitate our lives, and they are always replaceable. Applying too much importance to our possessions in fact, robs us of freedom.

Only the people in our lives are valuable.

Now here is the kicker truth, for those of us who have “Pride of Ownership”: We don’t own anything. Nothing we have is secure. Nothing we think we have truly belongs to us. Our car can get stolen, our house burned to the ground, our precious baseball card collection can get coffee spilled on it. Then what?

“Pride” in any form is just an extension of “ego”, and therefore completely useless, purposeless.

How do you define success?

On-TargetThe retired CEO of a fortune 500 company regrets not spending enough time with his children. Watching them grow, laughing with them, Teaching them all of life’s Subtle lessons, being an integral part of each others development. And now he feels disconnected from them now that their older, he barely knows them. And they have no interest in seeking his company. He is lonely in his 10 acre property complete with garden, stables, 20 car garage, Theater, Pool, and a full staff of servants (of course).

The retired Toll Booth Collector regrets not spending more time becoming “somebody”. Working hard, going to college, studying, using his talents to make his mark in the world, becoming wealthy. He feels useless, another link in the chain, obsolete. Now he is in the backyard of his tiny piece of property (rented) with his son, daughter, their kids, and wife having a barbecue wondering why he didn’t do something more with his life.

These are both very common situations.

So which man is rich, and which man is poor?

No matter what you choose, your right!

The truth is, only they can decide how successful they are. And they are both in this moment miserable about the riches that they don’t have, and completely ignoring the riches that they DO have.

But I will tell you this. I have heard many more old men say “I wish I had spent more time with my kids” then “I wish I had concentrated more on a career”.

This is one reason why I have chosen a minimalist life.

Be active, be involved.

On-TargetI cannot speak for all minimalists, but I believe I do speak for most when I say that it is easy for us to keep our possessions low because we do not spend much time doing indoor activities. We are outdoor people. We are minimalists because we place value in people and experiences where others place value in stuff; and with very little exception people and experiences will be found on the other side of your front door.

Watching American Idol is not an experience. Playing video games is not an experience. Reading a book is not an experience. Don’t get me wrong, all these things are good “activities” (maybe not American Idol), and in moderation are very productive. But they are not experiences. I think you will find this is true for most indoor activities.

The truth is, real life happens outside your home. Out in the world where you can talk to real people, breath in fresh air, feel the sunlight on your face, feel the wind, smell the season (which ever one it may be). This is the life that God wanted for us, and these riches are unmatched. Experiences involve using all your senses, and collaborating with real people. They scare you, the excite you, they make you sad, they make you laugh.

(now I get personal)

Let me take this a step further and share a grievance I have. Too often have I heard from many acquaintances “Argh, I really wish I could leave this place and live somewhere else, there is nothing to do here” (referring to the community in which they live). And every time I hear that it sends a shiver up my spine. The reason for this being that I live here, and the truth is that there is many awesome things to do in the Hudson Valley. One need merely be open-minded enough to consider doing something new and different. Just off the top of my head there is: Night clubbing, Wineries, Movies, Drive In Movies, Roller skating at the roller rink, Beer garden, Fine Dining, Rock Climbing, Cycling (had to mention), Hiking, B-Ball leagues, V-Ball leagues, Kickball leagues, Fantasy Gaming leagues, Kayaking, Fishing, Hunting, Bouldering, Archery Leagues (really), Camping, Boating, Sailing, Concerts constantly (the CHANCE has amazing local rock bands performing every weekend), frigging Hooka bars, Harvest fares, and many other activities I cannot think of now.

The thing is: Of course it is gonna seem like there is nothing to do when one doesn’t actually like to DO anything. 7 out of 10 times when I follow-up that statement with the question “Well what would you like to do?”, and the answer is “I don’t know”. I rest my case.

Unfortunately that is how we’ve been conditioned. If we “go out” to do anything it is either to work, school, dine, or to SHOP. And that is why we are consumers, hoarders, and obese (that’s right, I said it).

Do you want a life of meaning:

1) Cut the excessive shopping. It’s an obsession being used to fill a bottomless pit inside of you.

2) Cut the constant dining out. Same thing.

3) Try new experiences, and find one that suits you.

No matter where you live, Hudson Valley or otherwise, Likelihood is that there are many wonderful activities to get involved in that you know nothing about. Riches in your back yard that you have not even tapped into. We get so comfortable with our existing pattern of life that we are blinded to what is going on right next door. Soooooo break the pattern, keep your eyes open to what is going on in your community, try new experiences, get involved.

One good rule to live by to keep an active and exciting life is: Do something that scares you every day. Eh, every week (let’s be real).