I just discovered something amazing
I’m rich. Not by American standards, not by far. That’s not what this is about-not the accumulation of stuff and the bigger and bigger stuff, but something else.
Standing in the kitchen this morning finally unpacking the last of the food and cooking breakfast, I couldn’t find my spatula. A few months ago I had five or more. Now I don’t know what I did with the one I kept. My first thought wasn’t panic. (Actually my first thought was to make due with another utensil.) My second thought was, “If I can’t find it, I can always just buy one.” That’s when it hit me. I’m rich.
Not because of what I have, but because I no longer worry from day today if I’ll have enough stuff or if I should get something more. If I need something I can buy it. If I don’t need something, I enjoy life without it.
When I graduated college, oh… a couple decades ago, I constantly worried that I could accumulate enough, that I would never have to pay full price for an item, that I could save money that way. That is so very, very far from the truth, that concept of accumulating more to save. Where did it come from? Family genetics. Hopefully I’ve mutated enough that it won’t be a problem in the future. I used to spend several hundred dollars a year collecting things I didn’t need so that I would save money on their eventual purchase. And then I put them away and never used them. Not once.
If I’d saved that $200-300/year on things that simply got in my way and frustrated me but were never used, I would have saved $40,000-60,000, thrown away half (or more) as much stuff, and been happier and healthier, too. And now… now I’m rich. Not by accumulating all those years, but by finally getting rid of the accumulation. My wealth is no longer measured by what I have. I haven’t fulfilled the “American dream”, I suppose. Actually, I think I packed it and donated it with everything else. And I don’t miss it, either.