As a child and young adult, I always got hung up on this one. They'd tell me, "Don’t love things too much (or more than people), because they’re only things and things don't last forever." Things eventually break, or get old and worn out, or just go out of style. Therefore, if I loved things too much, I'd unltimately end up with a broken heart.
Instead, we're supposed to store up treasures in heaven, aren't we? But then I’d look around my world, at my family, the other kids in my class and what is presented to us on tv, and I perceived that no one actually behaved the way I was being told to behave. Everyone acted as if things were, very literally, all that mattered.
Be Eternal - the third from my God & Earth painted fence series.
You had to have a house, which is a thing. And if you had a house in a certain neighborhood, everyone knew you were either “rich” or “poor” based on the demographics of that certain neighborhood. And you had to have clothes, which are also things; and cool clothes at that, because if your clothes we're stylish, you’d be relentlessly harassed. Anyway, I just felt there was this dichotomy.
...I’d look around my world ...and I perceived that no one actually behaved the way I was being told to behave. Everyone acted as if things were, very literally, all that mattered.
As an adult, I believe the way it plays out in my life is more like: Love your things as much as they are worthy of love. Yes, my things: My home, clothing, car, jewelry, and all the other things, have a certain value to me. But, if I really consider the meaning of the word love, are they worthy of it?
When I think of love, I think about certain actions: Spending time, caring for and being cared for, nurturing, exciting experiences. So, do I really love things? What can I say, if I’m truly, really honest with myself?
I remember the amazing feeling I’d get when my mind was focused on bags, or on anything remotely related to them, and that little charge I'd get; a pick-me-up akin to that first hit of...
Olio bag interiors
I collect handbags. I began this habit more than two decades ago when I started desiring to have higher-end bags. I remember the amazing feeling I’d get when my mind was focused on bags, or on anything remotely related to them, and that little charge I'd get; a pick-me-up akin to that first hit of [insert vice of choice here].
There was also a bit of plotting; figuring out the whole purchasing experience and how I might save over a span of a couple of months to buy that one bag I just couldn't stop obsessing about. I’d imagine myself wearing it in different locations, with the various items of clothing and accessories I owned; and thinking about how this person or that person might like it and maybe comment on it. And then the possible need to purchase more clothing and accessories to further accentuate the piece I was gearing up to add to my collection. I started to notice how much time and energy and planning I spent on these types of things.
Now that I realize the insignificance of the things, it seems almost impossible that I ever thought otherwise. People don’t change? I recently put my Louis Vuitton small bucket, cir 1994 on consignment at The Silver Umbrella in Hyde Park.
Woodlawn, Chicago - WInter Wonderland
I walked; no, I was literally swept into the pretty storefront on S Hyde Park Blvd, by 35 MPHChicago lakefront winds...
I walked; no, I was literally swept into the pretty storefront on S Hyde Park Blvd, by 35 MPH Chicago lakefront winds, and laden with all the heavy overcoatings we need in these climates, as well as two large storage sacs filled with several bags by various high-end designers and of varying age.
Did I need the money? Sure, why not, Right? But it isn’t that. And it isn’t simply the whole minimalist movement either; though I'm fan of that movement and subscribe to The Minimalists podcast and email list. It's just that I don’t need them anymore. I haven’t used any of the bags I put on consignment for more than a year. Today, I carry Olio bags, my own designs and handmade creations.
Now don’t take me for a hater. I’m not saying that you shouldn't buy Coach or LV or any other brand, designer or maker you like. The fact that I spent so much money on those designers over the years, carefully choosing that perfect color or bag silhouette, is proof that I like and admire them. In fact, some would say, given the previous description of the thrill I’d get when purchasing one, that I might have been addicted.
I think what I'm trying to say is that I’ve simply entered into a length of my journey in which I need what I need. And what of the things I don't need? Well, I just don’t need them. Maybe someone else can love them.