Sooo... We got a rental car today. It's a 2013 Town & Country that's fully loaded with a black leather interior. It has amenities that I didn't even know existed. It has buttons and comparments and gadgets and whatnots. And a DVD player. And a back-up cam, which apparently is something I need. The kids think it's "Awesome!!!" They'd like to keep it. My non-logical, non-frugal, non-reality self would like to agree with them.
Oh, the leather is pristine and buttery soft. It's new and clean and there isn't a speck of dirt on the ground. There are thousands of satellite radio stations. I can plug in an iPad and a USB cable and play a DVD for the kids at the push of a button. There's a digital speedometer and the car barely bounces as I drive over potholes. And...
Then I remind my non-logical, non-frugal, non-reality self that she doesn't actually exist in the real reality, and that there are reasons we don't have nice things. Four reasons actually, which will remain unnamed but they are short and destructive, although they have good intentions most of the time. I suppose there are five reasons, I remind my other self, because my real self is actually the reason we have this rental car in the first place.
There are five reasons we don't have nice things. And if we did have this nice thing, soon it wouldn't be nice anymore for one of those reasons, and I would cry. And up until that point, I would be so paranoid about keeping the nice thing nice that my focus would be in the wrong place and I probably wouldn't be very pleasant.
So we don't have nice things. And you know what? Everyone is probably happier, more financially stable, more grateful, and less stressed as a result.
Things can't be the goal, the focus. Things are just things, but they can help you enjoy what's really important in life. They can drive you to a vacation destination, to church, and to baseball games. To the houses of family & friends, to parties, to run and laugh and play at the park. To make memories, to bless others. They simply provide transportation--all the important stuff happens before, during, & after the ride. The truth is,
your kids won't remember how you got there, but they will remember that you showed up.