On one of my morning walks recently, a nice older gentleman stopped me and asked if I had sat next to him at a recent community hearing.
“I did not,” I replied. “What did you and my twin talk about?”
“The news about that homeless shelter being made down the street. I lost a little faith in humanity that day.”
“Ahhhh,” I nodded, “I’ve heard a lot about it, though I haven’t paid attention much. I’m guessing you’re on the side that’s for it?”
“Yes. I’m all for people – not things.” (Not exactly what he said, but pretty much the gist of it)
Our community right now is divided between those all for it, and those who are not. With the “are nots” screaming the loudest. Mainly, because they say it’ll lead to more crime and theft and a bunch of “different” people lollygagging around.
I won’t get into what’s “right” here and what’s not because, quite frankly, this isn’t the right blog for it (and I’m no sociologist nor keeper of the Moral Committee!), but I will say that our convo did lead me to think more thoroughly on it which I really enjoyed. And the more I did, the more I came to the conclusion that I’m okay with the shelter going up, and more surprisingly that I also don’t covet any of my “stuff” anymore! Which is quite the liberating feeling to have!
And upon saying so to my new friend here, was met with the following statement:
“Well, it’s your own fault if you own expensive stuff.”
Woahhhh! What a line! I couldn’t immediately tell if I was offended by it, or if I agreed with it, but I did know that I’d never heard it put in such a way before. Especially in the midst of a homelessness/ burglary discussion.
Is it our fault if we own expensive stuff?
Yeah, I guess it is. Who else’s would it be?
Is it wrong to own expensive stuff?
I mean, not really, no… It’s not as good for growing your wealth and early retirement, yada yada yada, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with it?
Mix all that into a discussion on crime and the homeless, however, and feathers may be ruffled. Certainly it’s not our fault if someone breaks into our home and steals our stuff, right? Whether expensive or not? And even if it was, are you supposed to go through your lives expecting a burglary to happen and thus never pick up anything luxurious? (Actually, that wouldn’t be a bad mentality to have! Haha… Your wallet would love you for it! :))
All this went down a week ago and I still haven’t gotten it out of my mind… It’s like this Benjamin Franklin schedule turned my brain into a sponge and I can’t stop soaking up new ways of thinking and living!
But what’s even better than all this deep thinking, was again coming to that realization that I wouldn’t be terribly upset if someone did steal my stuff. I’d be highly annoyed and worried that it could lead to other – more life-threatening acts (especially with little kids in the house, bless their souls!) – but for someone to risk their freedom and take something that’s not theirs makes me feel like they need it more than I. And I probably wouldn’t miss whatever they took either!
(Actually, that’s not completely true – I would be pissed if someone stole my computer just because it would be incredibly annoying, and I’d also be sad to see my coin collection go after all these years of putting it together! But I do want to try and emotionally detach myself from those guys too because at the end of the day they are just little pieces of metal. Even though they are so full of history and joy!)
So yeah – at the end of the day I wouldn’t want to deal with it all, but my world wouldn’t crumble if some jackal broke into our house and started five-fingering. Again, provided we were all safe and sound.
I think that’s something to strive towards. Knowing that in any event your stuff goes missing forever – whether by humans or an act of nature – you’d be OK. That your “stuff” doesn’t make you who you are, but that YOU do.
Would you agree?
When I got back from my walk I asked my wife how she felt about it, and suffice it to say we were on different pages, haha… She said she’d def. miss all her clothes and makeup and pictures, etc etc, and that really the whole thing would just be completely disrespectful. Which of course I agree. Though I did find it interesting that none of the stuff she mentioned was expensive in the least. She didn’t jump to the TV or anything else in our house that’s $100+ for that matter. And come to think of it, we don’t even own that much expensive stuff? Nice!
Point is, it’s good to check that your spending is matching your priorities every now and then. Not only to prep yourself in the case theft DID occur one day (for example, locking up your precious things in a home safe or installing some sort of security system), but also to make sure you’re happy with the way things are. There’s nothing wrong with owning expensive stuff, but if it doesn’t align with your goals and where you see yourself down the line, well, it might be a good time to make some changes. And fortunately we DO have control over that.
I don’t know what will happen with this homeless shelter, but I am glad to have learned something about myself and my stuff. It looks like we’re making progress! :)
Would you miss a lot of things if stolen? Are you happy with where you prioritize your stuff?
A few days later I ran into my new friend again, and he gave me one of those super easy mini alarm systems to install in the house! He knew I didn’t have one, and wanted to make sure I didn’t jinx myself after all our talking, haha… How nice was that? They’re only $10 at Amazon if you’re needing something. Probably better than having nothing :)
[Photo by MooziX]
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!