I always thought it would be cool to collect something. To love something enough that I enjoyed the hunt and became an expert at spotting quality. For a while, I tried teacups. Pretty, flowered, delicate and a snooze-fest. I bought two or three, got one as a gift and admitted to myself that teacup collecting was not, well, my cup of tea. (Bet you could see that one coming)
I moved on to shoes, scarves, jeans and a bunch of other stuff that I long ago donated to Goodwill. When I first read the Simple Living Guide, it was a breath of fresh air. I was collecting the wrong things. I wanted a richer life, not a cluttered life.
Don’t worry. I’m not going to tell you to sort through all of the crap you’ve acquired over the years and give it all away. I like my stuff as much as the next person.
There’s nothing wrong with things. Your goal shouldn’t be to live in a big blank space but to recognize when the quest for more is filling a hole that’s bigger than that sliver on the self of your display case.
Long ago, a friend who had just gotten divorced told me: “I collected fine jewelry, he had a cellar of wine, we spent more time buying our favorite things than with each other.”
Can you relate?
Enough is Not a Number
Some people collect teacups, others collect fancy jewelry, but for both, the compulsion for more is what keeps the collection growing. The feeling that the perfect number, the perfect specimen or pair is the next one. Magically, everything will be different when you have it. Then you get it and it’s not so different after all. It’s just one more in your collection.
My children collect squishies, mystery boxes and all kinds of things I don’t understand or enjoy and I’m their Sugar Momma. We’ve talked about how they only have two hands, why do they need more? When will they have enough?
They look at me and laugh.
Funny, when my financial advisor asks me what will be enough for us in retirement, I give him a similar expression. How do we know we won’t need or want more? Why stop at some arbitrary number that’s supposed to be enough? What if it’s not?
Enough is a difficult concept for kids to grasp. Often met with a gasp, they wonder aloud: How could there ever be enough toys or unboxing videos, or iPad time?
Are you a collector?
… of degrees or certifications?
… Twitter followers?
… Facebook friends?
… Blog subscribers?
None of those things matter, you know. What matters is how you use your knowledge, or followers, or friends, or ideas to engage and create a world and life experience that is richer and more meaningful because of your connection.
When is it Enough?
It’s enough when your life is full and still has space to flex.
It’s enough when your heart is at peace.
It’s enough when you’re having fun, playing, and enjoying – not just working for more.
It’s enough when you hate it. You’re bored. You’re filling a hole that’s bottomless with things that don’t matter to you.
Break the Frame Action:
My financial advisor encouraged me to think about my life and ask myself what I want to do in the future. What’s important to me? In essence, to create a vision for the future so the choices I make today can bring me one step closer to the tomorrow I want.
When that vision is clear, then I can calculate. How much will be enough for that life and those experiences?
If you’re collecting likes or followers or business ideas or whatever… Why? What do you want? What’s the dream; the vision?
Write it down.
Don’t just think about it in the five minutes before you fall asleep tonight. Grab a pen or your computer and write down what you want to create in your life. What would make your life full, happy and the one you want to live? It doesn’t have to be pretty. Brainstorm in whatever way works for you – mind mapping, bullet points, etc.
Take a look at your list.
Now ask yourself:
Am I collecting the right things?
Are my actions (and collections) bringing me closer to where are want to go or just keeping me busy?
When will I have enough?
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