By anyone’s standards, I have too much stuff. The doors of my closet barely shut, laden as it is with clothes and shoes I never wear. I wrestle with dresser drawers in an attempt to force sweaters and jeans to fit together – not because they all get worn, but because I have accumulated too much.
It’s not just me, however. While I’ll boast a bit by saying that Griffin doesn’t have quite the toy collection of other children his age, he does have way too much. So much, in fact, that after taking some of it out of the living room this morning, I witnessed a much more content child playing for long stretches of time. The sole reason? He could actually concentrate on the few activities surrounding him.
We’ve lived in this house for just over 2 years, with a little more than a year of that spent with Griffin. During that short span of time it seems we’ve been collecting stuff. Lovely stuff. But still just…stuff that fills each crevice. A home I had once stood in and marveled at the size, wondering how we would ever make it look less than sparse.
I wish the consumer within me would be taken over by contentment. But looking around, it seems like we as a culture are grown to be consumer-driven practically from infancy. After all, there’s a reason toddlers recognize those golden arches. And while advertising still effects me as an adult, I think I’m a part of a generation that acquires mindlessly – I see therefore I buy.
Or maybe I want because others have.
While doing yoga recently, the instructor said something that has continued to resound in my head:
Discontent is the thief of joy.
To me, this constant echo is a whisper from God, asking that I be content with what I have. A whisper telling me to simplify in order to free up space for thinking and living, allowing my family freedom of movement in a life less culturally relevant but more family-oriented. To allow Griffin to grow into creativity by surrounding him with nature and not store-bought gadgets.
This is a life lesson, not something I can change overnight. But my goal is to not purchase anything new for two months, and see where that takes me. Cleaning out closets and drawers so that they only include the items I actually use will also allow me to see what I have in a new way. To be forced to get creative.
Simplify. Perhaps that’s my mantra right now. To simplify will be to allow more space for what actually matters in life.