Being the type of person that I am, I had our Christmas shopping done weeks ago. In fact, the main reason we had to get a tree as early as we did was because I needed a place to put the gifts. The arrival of the new Ipod under the tree came about three days after the old one died for good and at the exact same time the boy began to beg to open one of his gifts (can you guess which one?) early.
Jay and I put up the fight for a while but eventually caved on the one condition that the boy act super thrilled when he opened all of his non-Ipod related gifts on Christmas morning. The boy ripped into his package, set everything up, and began to download all of his songs. But then something went wrong. The Ipod seemed fine but not even half of his music library would download. Out of over 100 songs, he was only able to get 11. My first thought was Wow! We've shelled out a lot of money in the last year and a half funding this kid's love of shitty music. (Such as My Balls. Click it, you know you want to. Actually, it is kinda funny.) My second thought was Fuck! The one thing my kid wanted and we can't even get it to function properly. The next day and a half was spent Google-ing the problem and trying out different solutions. Eventually, we found the source of the issue and everything was fine but over that day and a half I was so stressed out. I just wanted everything to be easy and I wanted my son to enjoy his gift.
This was when it occurred to me how much I've come to hate stuff. Not all stuff and not all the time, but I hate it when I get stressed out about stuff. I hate when stuff distracts me from more important things like my kids or my husband. Or myself. I hate it when I just want to relax but I find myself having to deal with stuff.
A few years back Daphne posted about some new electronics gadget she had gotten and how she couldn't get it to work properly. I forget the specifics of the post and I'm quite sure that I'm completely paraphrasing (sorry Daph!) but I remember her mentioning that basically this was a problem stemming from having too much as opposed to the bigger problem of having too little. That stuck with me.
Here's the thing: I know that I have a lot less than a lot of people. I'm no longer a home owner. We're saving for a second car. My savings account isn't as substantial as I would like it to be. Yet, most of the everyday irritation in my life comes from too much or stuff.
As I get older I realize that the things that are making me the happiest are usually not related to stuff. The other night I spent four hours at a non impressive restaurant because I loved being with the people I was with and the conversation was so good that I didn't want the night to end. This Thanksgiving my family will be celebrating at the home of another family, we'll all be sharing the holiday. Together. I have friends to call, friends to write to, friends to send care packages to, and friends to email. I truly, genuinely love all of the people in my life right now.
When I think about it that way, who needs stuff?