I'll never forget an intriguing interview Paul Newman and Joanne Woodard gave to Barbara Walters years ago on television. Ms. Walters asked them how they had managed to stay married so long in Hollywood during four decades of marriage. Paul Newman replied, "This is a throw-away society. We throw away children, friends, marriage, enough trash to sink the planet and anything else we don't want. People don't respect what's important as they should. Love and compassion is important. The rest is just extra gravy." Or something to that effect. His words have stayed with me for many years because he was right. We ARE a throw away society.
Here's a good example...
Today I read an article about a home for sale. Initially I laughed out loud reading about this "home" but after a few lines, I'm pretty sure I gasped which quickly turned to disgust. Disgust turned to sadness.
Here are the details:The asking price: $75 MILLION. TWENTY THREE (yes, 23) bedrooms, 13 bathrooms, 10 kitchens, 3 swimming pools. The extras : a 20 car garage, a bowling alley, a rolling rink, a movie theater, a video arcade, a fitness center, a baseball field, and 2 tennis courts (one is never enough).
Now, here's the sad and most ridiculous part....it's not complete. There are no interior walls, carpet or floors. It's being sold "as is". This mega mansion is now the most expensive home for sale in the United States,knocking the Spelling mansion into second place. This is not excess. This is what I call a shame. An unbelievable waste of resources, man power, materials and greed. ( The article left out how many family members the home was being built for but my guess would be very few. )
When my parents passed on, we inherited furniture, dishes, silver, crystal, photographs and many sentimental items including various personal effects. No one on Earth could have talked me into parting with anything that belonged to my parents. Not even a slip of paper could have been pried from my hands. Unfortunately, my home wasn't large enough to accommodate the truck loads of cherished items. We immediately moved to a 3600 square foot home just to make room for possessions, even though only three of us were living together at the time.
Dad used to say, "All I need is a bed, a desk, table, chairs, a TV, my guitars and something to play music on. I bought this house on the lake for the windows. I can't see out the windows because June loves all this antique furniture. Nothing's wrong with that, but I want to see out the windows. All this stuff is just wood and nails that ends up owning YOU instead of you owning IT."
June proclaimed often, "I love to be surrounded by pretty dishes and things. I love to to collect. When we're gone, the children will enjoy all this."
Mom's theory was, "I enjoy nice things and I like decorating my house. I don't see the point of having so much clutter that you aren't comfortable and don't notice the house is decorated nicely."
After taking these statements into consideration I tend to agree with all three opinions. However, there is one missing ingredient. BALANCE.
Dad - I'm simplifying.
June - I love beautiful, lovely things.
Mom - I've made my home nice, tasteful and comfortable.
Now for the obstacle. My home is completely full including two 2 car garages. I'm ready to put the BALANCE into action. Every sentimental item will remain in my possession until I cross over and leave this planet. My children will become the "keeper of the flame" and hopefully pass beloved treasures to the generations that follow.
How much do we NEED to have a nice, comfortable life? Not WANT, NEED. Not as much as we think we do. I'm recycling every way I can by donating, selling or giving things away that may benefit others and bring them pleasure.
Dad and June have been gone seven years. Mom left this planet five years ago. It's time to let go of excess "stuff" they would have told me years ago to get rid of.
I don't need vintage trunks. I have luggage complete with handles and wheels which is much more practical.
I don't need 3,000 antique dishes. I will never have a sit down dinner for 1,000 people.
I don't need 500 pieces of silver. A few beautiful pieces is more than adequate. I appreciate every item very much but I don't like to polish it and takes a lot of space to display. I would much rather travel, write, draw, paint, watch a good movie, relax and enjoy people I love. THAT'S what's important in life.
Let me rephrase that. It's not important. It's VITAL .
My parents were loving, kind, compassionate and amazing. They believed laughter, family and love were what really mattered. "The rest was just extra gravy." I know if they were here today, each one would say, " I agree with Paul Newman. Lighten the load, look out the windows, enjoy the view and appreciate the beauty of it all. Never throw away what's really important."
Love to you all~