I know all of you have seen either a dog or a cat with only three legs. They learn to cope without the fourth and do so with relish. They don’t pine – or at least not for long – about losing the leg, they just learn to live without it and move on – literally.
What is it that you can live without to make your life, bank account or thought processes less of a struggle? We are a global people of possessions. The more we have, the more we make an impression – or so we think. The make of car, the number of cars, the size of the house, the furnishings, the number of houses, the clothes, the travel, the hair, the friends in “high places,” all seem to label us as either important, rich, not so, middle class, trailer trash, or any other label. Do these labels identify our souls? Not even close.
My friend – I’ll call him Tim – lives a life of “image.” He drives a fancy car, lives in a fancy neighborhood, and wears the “right” color socks with the right jacket/shirt/tie. I’m impressed. But he’s at a crossroads both personally and professionally. He has learned to live without a fancy house – the declining market caused not one, but several moves. He’s learned to live without the Country Club and its jet set. He drinks beer instead of expensive wine. Guess what? He’s still Tim; the Tim others and I love. He’s still brilliant, funny and yes, good-looking. (They all help the profile.)
At coffee yesterday morning with my friend, she told me about selling a fancy, built-from-scratch race car that had been in their garage for years. They obviously can live without it. The loss was just a thought, not a real loss. We cling onto possessions as though they were blood flowing through our social veins. Why?
I’m living without some family heirlooms that I sold a few years ago. Does this make me less of a person? No. I now serve dinner on stainless steel and use stainless steel dinnerware instead of sterling. Damn, they didn’t notice! It didn’t hamper the meal, the love and laughter. I’ve learned to live without a six-figure income – though I hope it comes back – and I’ve done well. (However you want to define “well.”) What about you? Have you done without and noticed that the true you is still you? I would hope so.
Stay true to you and your values, and the accoutrements of wealth or importance come from within. You have riches with friends, family, laughter, health and beautiful days. Lavish yourself in those riches and like the three-legged dog or cat you’ll realize that you can live without some tangibles, as long as the intangibles are there.
Have a great weekend.