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Less Stuff, More Experiences

Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 at 8:05 am


By Mark McGee

One of my former girlfriends from my college days passed away a few weeks ago.

I was sorry to hear the news of her death after a long battle with cancer. But I was impressed by what she had accomplished in her life.

One line that really grabbed my attention was she had visited 90 countries. Geography has never been my strong point, so I will honestly admit I didn’t know there were 90 countries in the world.

Her life was cut short, but she had more experiences than most people would have in three lifetimes. I envy what she was able to do in such a short time.

I like to see new places. I have traveled extensively in the United States and Canada for business and pleasure. But my travel time outside of North America is limited to Japan, Mexico, and France. I had plans a couple of years ago to spend time in the Czech Republic watching the Nashville Predators hockey team but fate intervened.

As I have grown older I have become firmly convinced that what we have experienced, especially in the concept of seeing new places and being up close and personal with new cultures, is going to be more important to us than the stuff we have accumulated and left for someone to sort through.

I don’t have a need to see 90 countries, but there are several on my to-do list including Morocco, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, and Germany. I want to see the Great Wall of China. I would like to tour the Holy Land – but not in today’s climate. Egypt and the pyramids are also tempting.

Several years ago I was able to watch a couple of baseball games in the Japanese pro league while in Tokyo – something as a fan of the game I had always wanted to do. It is a unique experience to be a fan at one of those games.

Along the same lines I would like to watch a professional hockey game in Russia, but I would rather do that when things calm down there.

As the old saying goes, so many things to do, so little time.

In the past couple of weeks I have been doing a lot of soul searching and I have decided it is time to start decluttering my life. If something doesn’t have a sentimental value to me chances are that item is going to be gone.

I look at many things I thought I needed to have at the time and wonder what I was thinking.

For fear of someone recommending me to be featured on the “Hoarders” television show it is time for this change.

I have gradually been cutting back on my trips to Goodwill. I won’t say I will never go back but am trying to resist the temptation. I can’t remember the last time I visited the Nashville Flea Market, which used to be on my calendar every month.

It is time to go cold turkey on estate sales and online auctions as well.

Parting with some stuff may serve a dual purpose. First, it will help me organize my life. Second, if I sell a few things I will have some funds to help pay for one of those trips I want to take.

My goal is to put life’s experiences on my shelves and not more stuff. I feel it is definitely time for a change.