I have a confession to make. I have a tendency to like "stuff." What I mean is there's a hole in me (if I allow it to do so) that always tries to convince me it needs filling. For example, as a triathlete . . .
(Even though I have a decent-enough bike; I mean it goes forward) I must have that brand new, cooler looking model. Disregard the $5,000 price tag. It must be mine!
I got my new, lighter than air running shoes. But wait, I don't like the white shoelaces. I must color-code and get some new, more colorful laces to stand out, while I run (never mind the fact that I'll still be running my 9 - 10 minute mile pace regardless).
as a musician . . .
Yes, I just bought my third guitar in three months, but that new black Fender would look very nice in my collection. Yes, I know it still has 6 strings, can be plugged in and sound pretty damn sweet . . . but don't I have 3 other guitars with six strings . . . well, you get the idea.
as an educator . . .
Oh boy, I have to try this newest, bestest piece of technology! This must be the holy grail of education! Never mind the fact that there are 100 previous applications which I have downloaded that do the exact same thing. New and shiny must be better!
as just plain me . . .
I want a bigger house! I want a pool! I want a vacation home! I want a new truck! I want a Playstation 5!
This could go on for quite some time, so I'll spare you the incessant whining.
What is the point of of this dribble? For me it's about the improvement of oneself. An enlightenment, if you will.
Everything above is what's known as materialism. Even if I received everything listed above, my metaphorical "hole" would find something else that my perceptions would believe in need of more filling. You see, everything I've listed that I "must have" is going to lose value and/or wear out. They're all a fleeting perceived need.
This endless hole will never be filled, no matter how many items I try to fill it with. In fact, I often refer to the phenomenal movie, Fight Club, for a quick reminder. To get my head on straight and remind myself of this exercise in futility, I reflect on the following quote:
“The things you own, end up owning you. It’s only after you lose everything that you’re free to do anything.” – Chuck Palahniuk.
Even if I purchased every single item at the beginning of this blog article, I'd still be . . .
-a father and husband
Basically, in every sense of the word, very little would change. And if something did change (for example, the new house); the novelty would wear off soon enough, and I'd still be the bullets listed above. So, what truly changed for the better?
It's time for a quick learning experience. Humor me and try the following:
Look at your surroundings and find something to observe. I don't care if it is a dog, a television, a loved one, or an apple core. Truly give it your full attention. No matter what you're looking at is scientifically made of some form of matter. However, what truly makes it "what it is" to you are the experiences you've had with it. In whatever manner you have interacted with this object in relation to your 5 senses is what makes it "what it is."
What is the point? The point is that I am trying on a daily basis to realize and remember that my life is far more fulfilling through my experiences; not through consumption of endless material goods. In essence, I'm trying to live as an idealist as opposed to a materialist. Philosophically, idealism pushes aside the physical world filled with material things. Conversely, I try to enjoy a world through the powers of my mind. My life is simply made up of the memories/experiences I have accrued throughout my living years. Thereby, it is in my power to create more!
In the end, throughout this ongoing journey of learning, I'm discovering that the basis of my reality is not necessarily the "matter" of my surroundings, it is my consciousness. And this consciousness is far more meaningful and fulfilling with "experiences" with my family, my students, my racing, my music, my writing as opposed to just filling my metaphorical "hole" with a bunch of stuff.
What I'm trying to say is this: I am here and that is where I'm meant to be. It's up to me to make it meaningful. No credit card required!