Some people spend their lives chasing after dreams Some people surround themselves with materialistic fantasy, Still others die a little each day cause that’s the price they all gotta pay When you get hung up on livin’ and forget about life, Yeah, when you forget all about the givin, you forget about life… J. S 1979
This afternoon I saw an old bumper sticker from back in the day that brought back a few memories. “He who dies with the most toys win’s.” Remember that one? It was pretty funny, but has no intrinsic value. It was merely a loose attempt at explaining away the meaning of life for baby-boomers, in terms of materialism, during the ‘Me, Me Me,’ ‘Splurge’ generation of the late 70’s and 80’s. Yes, those wonder years of Jimmy Carter’s hostage crisis, fuel shortages, Reaganomics, double digit inflation, and credit card mania!
I remember them particularly well, for I was a victim of the materialistic illusion. For awhile there I had no real direction in life and got caught up in the deception, living a life that was not my own, playing the status game. I went through so many new cars during that period of my life, I had my wife convinced that having a car payment was a fact of life.
We bought a small home, then 18 months later we bought a brand new home that we could scarcely afford, as well as an array of furniture, stereo equipment, appliances, tools, clothing, etc. You name it I probably had it. My credit card companies loved me! My credit card debt was incredible, couple that with my house payment, car payments and tuition for my children’s private school, and it was quite apparent that I was living beyond my means, but so what! Everyone was doing it!
I now know that my binge buying was not as much an attempt to keep up with the Jones’ or to amass my large collection of toys, as much as it was a way to fill the void that was my life. Did it help? not really. It was a temporary fix to a long term problem. Truth be told, I was simply not a very happy camper back then.
So there I was living a life of illusion, a true consumer, not only of goods and services, but beer and pot as well, you know, just a little to take the edge off, going nowhere fast. Why my wife put up with my bull shit and stuck with me, I’ll never understand. “For better or worse” no truer words have ever been spoken, she was there for the long haul. Obviously she had more faith in me than I did.
As I’ve mentioned in other posts, a series of events and circumstance in my life gave me the opportunity to change things, and I thank God everyday for allowing that to happen. You can change too!
Those of you who may find yourself in a similar situation, or longing to fill some void, need to take control of your lives. Materialism is not the answer. He who has the most toys when he dies has nothing! He’s dead! His collection of playthings mean nothing, except to those who will inherit them!
Life is more than that. Family, good friends, and strong, healthy relationships is what matter. Love is what it’s all about. That is not to say that you stop buying things that you need or things you enjoy, but when you find inner peace and happiness you’ll also find more pleasure in the simpler things in life. I believe the Beatles put it best, “All you need is Love, Love is all you need.”
I tell you truthfully, I would rather die knowing I’ve been a good husband father and friend, knowing I’ve been a part of, or touched, peoples lives in some positive way, and knowing I’ve lived the best life that I could. I would rather die knowing these all important things, than to have a house, garage and yard full of toys! Besides, he who dies with the most toys still dies….
“There’s gotta be more to life than having everything.” unknown