Allan sent me this as a comment in response to yesterday’s blog. I liked it so much that I want to share it with you as its own post. It seems to me that, as is the way with so many things, both perspectives on happiness carry their own measure of truth.

I am one of those people who have lost everything (well, just about) they owned and “survived.” When my house burned down in 1974, all that remained were the clothes on my back, my beat-to-shit old car, and a bottle of mezcal (not sure why.) After the initial trauma of losing not only all my stuff, but also the home I had been remodeling for the prior four years, I felt immense relief that my (future) wife (not Deloris), the kids and I were safe and unharmed. I regretted the loss, especially since my parents had just sent me a bunch of stuff from my grandparents and all my old “memories” from my childhood as they were moving to a smaller condo. Poof. All gone.

There were tears, of course. There was shock and dismay. And then there was this incredible sense of relief, of freedom. No longer was I bound by my “stuff.” All that mattered was that we were safe and no one was hurt. Material goods are just that — material things that, regardless of the emotional attachment, are just things — objects that can be replaced if not identically then at least functionally. I rejoiced in not being burdened by them, at least for a couple of years until I had to start replacing them when I finally settled into my new home.

I am not suggesting my story has any similarity to yours or there is only one proper way to feel. Rather, your post just triggered this need to share. Also, I think your friend’s advice, “Happiness is a place to call your own,” is not entirely accurate. Happiness is being satisfied with what you have in the moment, at least that’s the lesson I have learned over the years.

Anyway, I hope your stuff arrives soonest and you are able to settle into and enjoy your new life. A wrecked car, no furniture — it’s gotta get better.


  1. Allan, Thank you for your comments. I am living in a one-bedroom apartment (by choice) and I am trying to let go of stuff that I really don’t need or have room for. It’s not easy, but thanks for the reminder that it can also be liberating.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow – so many different ways to see things. For example, I was wondering why that man is standing on a giant kitten’s head.
    Like Allan said, “soonest”! You may look back on your empty apartment with tenderness.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I found Allan’s piece very interesting and especially appreciated his writing: ” Happiness is being satisfied with what you have in the moment, at least that’s the lesson I have learned over the years.” In general, this is a perspective I am reminding myself to cultivate!

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  4. I’m drawn to minimalism, and I do feel like having less things really does wonders for the mind. Of course, my heart goes out to everyone who’s lost their ‘things’ involuntarily, like Allan here, but I’m also inspired by those who discover the few things that mean a lot to them. Thanks for this share, Ruth!

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