I love owning less.
I made a decision years ago to intentionally live with fewer possessions. It was born, mainly, out of my growing discontent with the focus of my life’s energy. As the size of my home increased and the number of things stuffed into closets grew, more and more time was spent caring for them.
While cleaning my garage one Saturday morning, I began to realize how much of my life was being stolen by the things that I own. As a result, the things that meant the most to me were being neglected. I immediately began to remove the nonessential.
Owning less provides me the opportunity to pursue my greatest passions. It’s great. And I’ll never go back to my previous lifestyle.
But along the way, I discovered something even better than owning less: Wanting less.
Not long ago, I was visiting a friend at his home down the street. As we were talking, he mentioned how nervous he was about the upcoming weekend. I began to ask why.
“Well,” he said, “we have some new friends coming over for dinner. And I’m a little embarrassed about the size of our house.” He proceeded to tell me the backstory.
Recently, he and his wife had met some new friends. And last weekend, they went to their house for dinner.
“Joshua, it was huge,” he remarked, “and beautiful and every room had gorgeous furniture in it. It was one of the nicest homes I’ve ever been in!”
But now, this coming weekend, their friends would be coming over to their home for the first time. And last weekend’s experience has left my friend self-conscious about the size of his home.
I went about my friendly-duty of assuring him he had nothing to worry about. Things would be just fine. His house was plenty big. And the feeling you get when you enter a home is far more important than square footage or the make of the furniture.
All the while, I felt a bit of sadness for him. What a crummy way to live… constantly scanning the possessions of others and comparing them to your own. There is no joy to be found in that approach to life. It will always lead to discontent and envy.
But soon after, I began to analyze the emotions and feelings I had experienced during his telling of the story. We had moved into a smaller home years ago and I couldn’t be happier with it—the benefits of a smaller home are fantastic. I don’t even want a bigger house anymore. I drive past them all the time and think to myself, “I’m sure glad I don’t have to take care of that big thing!”
As my friend was sharing his story, I began to reflect on how much my life has changed and how unattractive the constant pursuit of material possessions has become to me. Not only do I own less, I want less. And this is a wonderful place to be.
Because I don’t want to own more than I already have, I am freed from the constant comparing of my stuff to others. I am no longer bound to the incessant pursuit of more money and more stuff. I have found contentment in the things that I own. I have discovered more room for generosity. And I have begun to bend my pursuits towards things that matter.
Indeed, owning less is great, but wanting less is even better. (tweet that)