At the moment I am sitting in an airport terminal with my backpack and my travel gear. This is a rather bittersweet feeling…In part because for the first time in a long time I feel like I have found a group of people that I belong to…..Those people are the ones that traverse this world with little more than a carry on backpack. I have had little desire to purchase anything that doesn’t add immense value to my life. My major purchase of this trip was a granite chess set that came from a German toy shop.
I have a confession… I’m the grandson of a man who built the mansion he later lived in. This gross amount of wealth.. Living in a family that has a gross amount of wealth…..I haven’t been able to find happiness in it. No true happiness has came to me during the holidays for quite some time now…. besides visiting with my family and friends during the holidays. However, I am disturbed by the reality that we NO LONGER value each other over material objects handed around the table for Christmas. We are more worried about our consumption of goods and services that allows perceived happiness… not true and lasting happiness.
Did you know there is no recorded increase in happiness after someone has there basic need met? A blanket when cold and a bowl of soup is all that’s needed. 5 types of soup and 10 blankets won’t change our amount of happiness. It only continues the Hedonic Cycle.
The thing about it is this…The echo’s of the singers in the Notre Dam Church in Paris….The countless snowflakes of Germany falling on a painful past of Sachenhausen Concentration Camp… The tears exiting my eyes reading the last words of Jews leaving their loved ones while being sent to the camp…. Those experience’s are of the most important value to me. In fact they are just behind having a good thoughtful visit with my friends and family.
The true meaning of life is not to share loved moments with the contents of our living space….But to hold the value of our friends and loved ones closer and to share that moment together.
I am a changed person. I have less value for material possessions now than I had when I first came to these countries.
I can recall a memory from my Great Grandfather. This memory was about two months before his passing. I was talking to him about life because he had lived a full one. He told me that its the people in our lives that matter the most. No amount of things will ever replace those near us. He was sitting in a room with a bed, a elevating chair, a small bathroom, and the garden out back that he enjoyed. None of these things mattered more than the time that our family was spending with him before his passing in December of 2016. He was a simple man… that’s what made him who he was to me. He did so much, but in the end it was those around him that gave his life the most meaning.
My main question now is this….How do I take what I have learned in this country and introduce that to my life? I’m stepping into the right direction. How do I live a life of minimalism?