A few thoughts on what it takes to be happy. (Hint: It’s not much.)
I moved to California a year ago for a job. Since they didn’t pay for me to move my household, everything I own is still in a storage shed somewhere in southwest Florida and hopefully not completely covered in mold. So I filled up my car with as much as I could cram in it, packed up my two cats, and drove over 3,000 miles from south Florida to northern California.
Hardest. Road trip. Ever.
Don’t get me wrong. I am a gypsy at heart. But my Florida cats were not fond of the car. However, they did get very quiet and enjoyed the scenery as we began to enter the mountains. I’m just not sure how well I did at attempting to share my devilish case of wanderlust with them.
But, do you ever think about when you die and where you want to be buried someday? There’s no way I could pick one place! I’ve lived in so many different states. “Home” only exists in the hearts of the people I love. And maybe it’s my penchant for indecisiveness, but one place has never been where any roots are.
Sometimes I worry it’s not appreciating the now and where you are right when you are there. I think that’s where happiness lies. Not in a future move, job, or relationship. But smack in the middle of your messy.
But I really had to think about what I was bringing and what I wasn’t. Most all my shoes made the cut. Three plates. My favorite chef’s knife. My favorite pillow. And a smattering of photos of my children. One thing that didn’t make the cut was my Hello Kitty toaster.
I figured where I was going had an oven, and toast can be made in an oven.
A “friend” of mine came to visit. A person of respectable wealth who was also raised with money. Who also owns multiple homes. But when it comes to toasters. I own precisely one more than he does, even though it’s in Florida. He asked me where my toaster was when he wanted to toast something. I answered Florida. And I said to use the oven, duh. This was confusing to him. So I asked, how many toasters do you own in all your homes? He replies, none. “But,” he added, “at least I can afford one.”
Yes, my immediate douche canoe senses went off. They are a lot like spidey senses but for those not bitten by radioactive spiders. Who says that?
However, the more my life has gone on without my huge storage shed full of crap. I realize how much I don’t need it. As a matter of fact, I don’t need much at all. Nor do I have a want for more. I don’t want a mansion. If you dropped millions in my lap right now, I would just become a full-time gypsy. I’d travel. I’d write.
I used to want fame and fortune and ridiculous success. But then I saw how most people who have those things behave. It’s as if they become desensitized to their good fortune and seek out more, more, and more. Instead of going backward in gratitude, they push forward, stepping on anyone and everyone in their path to get their next big fix of universal adoration to feed their Seymour-like ego. “FEED ME!”
Years ago, I read a magazine article about this group of middle-aged women who bought and refurbished these vintage travel trailers. I kept the magazine. I’d love to tell you which magazine it was. However, it’s in storage. In Florida.
But we won’t miss the gist, only the details. I told my friend Sherry that someday after my kids have gone off to college, I could buy one of those tiny vintage campers and travel this amazing country and never look back. After living a whole year without all my “stuff,” I realize how unimportant all those things are. You really can’t take it with you.
And you know what?
I don’t want to.
The things I want to take with me are the times I got to hang out with my kids. I want to take the times I’ve had dinner with my girlfriends and laughed for hours. I want to take the memories of every beautiful sunset I’ve witnessed and every jaw-dropping moon-rise. I want to take the people I’ve loved with me, deep in my heart. And keep the time I’ve been given deep in my soul.
I don’t need a toaster. Someday if I have my little camper, I’ll take my friends’ advice and make toast over an open campfire overlooking a stunning lake watching a million stars twinkle in the sky. And you know, I think I’ll be just fine without a toaster.