I'm not interested in a big house and lots of stuff
I had never thought that I would end up the way that I am, spending decades mostly not being in my home country but I am really glad that it worked out that way. I have probably taken a rather huge pay cut and "stunted my career" by doing so but the idea of permanence and the acquisition of more and more stuff isn't really important to me.
This all became very apparent to me when one year not long ago my parents were moving out of their rather large house because all of their children are now grown up and moved out. We were give a very large window of opportunity - something like a year - to come back to the big house and rummage through our boxes in the attic and decide what we thought was really important and what was to be either given to Goodwill or thrown out.
It was kind of alarming how much crap we had managed to keep in storage over the years.
It looked a bit like the above, at least one of the attics did, but image 3 times as much stuff. Myself and my siblings all arranged so that we would be there at the same time just to insure that we didn't accidentally throw out something that actually wasn't ours. When we were all going through the things that we had stored in the attics we encountered a whole mess of things that it doesn't make much sense that anyone would hang onto.
The following things were discovered in my own stash.
- A broken RC car as well as tons of parts for it. This was a rather big part of my youth but I was not going to spend the money to repair it, especially now that I travel for a living
- about 400 rolled up notes that I passed to classmates in 7th-9th grade in the hallways. This might seem like a treasure trove of memories but after reading about 20 of them, I realized they were all basically nonsense.
- board games that nobody thought were important enough to take with them to college. Most of them were missing pieces and weren't very good games to begin with
- tons of baby toys that would probably be considered health hazards by today's standards
- two massive boxes of things like sweaters and coats that are now horribly out of fashion
- antiquated snow-skiing equipment that is outdated and not used anymore: I think I hung onto this only because the gear was really expensive when I bought it.
- hundreds of CD's
I think one of the funniest things was this rack stereo equipment and massive speaker that was all the rage in the 90's. These things were absolutely huge and taking up a lot of space even though the attic was relatively big. I can't even imagine how much money I spent on that thing but it included - and these were all separate purchases - a record payer, an amplifier, an equalizer, a 5-disc carousel CD-player, a dual cassette deck, and a separate subwoofer power system.
Something like this. It is absolutely crazy to me how much everyone spend on their home stereos back in the 90s
So when it was all said and done, myself and my siblings had ended up giving away almost all of this stuff and when you stood back and looked a what the MSRP of all of that was upon the time of purchase, it kind of made you sad. Did those things bring us some joy when we had them? Of course. But upon reflection most of it was stuff we spent money on just because we had money and felt as though we needed to spend it. It's called consumerism. Nobody needs 40 sweaters but that is exactly what I had in one of those boxes. I barely recognized some of them because they were just awful and were acquired at an Outlet store because everyone else felt the same way. But hey! They were cheap!
My parents moved into a much smaller 2-bedroom place and made a ton of money off the sale of their extremely huge house. This fit into their lifestyle a lot more sensibly than the 4 bedroom, historical house in the hills, that just the two of them were living in. At first they were kind of disappointed to be leaving all those memories behind but I am happy to say that my parents have embraced the travel life as well. I like to think that I got the ball rolling on that one because all of my immediate family does the same.
All but one of my immediate family do NOT focus on the acquisition of "stuff" because I think all of us learned that weekend in the attics at my parents that almost all of the things we buy will eventually end up in the attic and later discarded. I feel that way about almost any purchase that I make today. I rarely buy clothes unless i genuinely need them and because I travel about 80% of the year, I make certain that my entire life fits into at most, 2 suitcases.
I'm not saying that everyone needs to live a spartan lifestyle like mine. I don't think I am better or know better than others about how to live life. I do think that for most people though we spend entirely too much money on the acquisition of "stuff." Most of this "stuff" doesn't have any long-term purpose either. How full is your attic? Is there anything up there that you are actually going to ever use again? Or are you just loading up the place like me and my family were?
For me, I don't think I will ever live in a big house. The world IS my big house and I would much rather spend my money on new destinations and experiences that to fill up my attic with things that I am most likely never going to use again. What about you?