Have you noticed how so much of success in life is associated with the pursuit of getting more stuff? No matter how much we have, we always seem to desire even more. After all, getting new things feels pretty great. However, after the novelty has worn off, taking care of all those things frequently becomes a burden. As I say in my song, all that “stuff” requires cleaning, storage, maintenance, and more.
Today I am humbling offering a quote of my own to the mix: “You don’t need to own it to enjoy it.”
In fact, I might go so far as to say that some objects are even more pleasurable when you don’t carry the associated burden of ownership. Here is an example. A friend of mine owns a large, conch shell-shaped bowl that is the perfect vessel for serving shrimp cocktail. Just fill it with ice, place cooked shrimp on top, and serve the cocktail sauce in a small bowl on the side. Having this decoratively shaped bowl adds a festive touch to a buffet table. When I threw a party a couple of years back, I borrowed this bowl, and it was a beautiful addition to my table. What was even better was that after the party was I over, I returned the (rather large) bowl to my friend. I didn’t have to find a giant space in my cabinet to store it, I just gave it back.
This same principle can apply to so many things in life:
- Borrowing books from the library instead of having to store them yourself.
- Going for a ride on someone else’s boat and not having to deal with the boat’s storage and care for the rest of the year.
- Renting a power washer to clean your deck without having it clogging up precious space in your garage.
- Renting a formal gown from a company like Rent the Runway for a fraction of the cost of buying it outright, especially when you are unlikely to wear it again.
- Enjoying the art in a museum rather than buying, insuring, and protecting valuable pieces in your home.
- Vacationing in a VRBO as opposed to buying (and maintaining) a second home.
- Playing with your children in a park instead of installing (and maintaining) equipment in your backyard.
Admittedly, when you don’t own an item yourself, you might not have the flexibility of access that you have as an owner. At the same time, we tend to underestimate the “carrying costs” for items we own, which can include financial outlay, mental energy, physical space, maintenance, and time. There is something very freeing about not needing to possess an item in order to enjoy it. We can simply take pleasure in it, and then move on to something else.
For today’s challenge, try to identify one object you could enjoy without owning it. Can you think of anything?