Life Do Over and Collecting Stuff – Insights from the Wilderness #210


collecting stuffI’m old enough these days to have some wisdom and insights on how I could have lived a more successful and happier life; in other words, the wisdom I would need if I had the opportunity to do my life over again. A “life do over” as some people would say.

I’ve shared my thoughts with some of my retired friends, and to a person they agree with me. They told me I should write a book called “How To Live Your Life As If It Was Your Second Shot At It”. I told them the title was certainly catchy but I’m not sure anyone would read it until they were too old to get much out of the book.

But if I did write such a “life do over” book, this is what I would say.

Down Size

If I could do life over again, I would be much more selective regarding the “stuff” that I purchased. I would come out of college and immediately begin down sizing my life. I would purchase only what I needed to support a very simple life style. I would live in a very small home with a yard large enough for me to grow most of my own food.

I would recognize and affirm that in my first life I spent far too much money and time collecting “stuff” that I really didn’t need. And in many cases, it was “just in case” stuff that I simply stored and never got around to actually using. I would caution readers of my book that in my first life, most of the “stuff” I bought, I paid far more than I needed to pay simply because I bought “new and shiny” rather than “used and functional”.

Develop Patience

And because I was too impatient to save the money before I bought most of the “stuff” I bought, I spent the first half of my first life giving the banks back far too much of my hard earned money in the form of interest payments every month.

(Warning: If you are past the first half of your life, I would suggest not attempting to calculate exactly how much you’ve spent on “impatience generated” interest payments. It will ruin your day.)

Basic Philosophy 101

I would include in my book the wisdom a wise person shared with me recently. It is a humorous but sad reality that I can certainly relate to looking back at my first time through this life.

He told me that most of us tend to spend the first half of our life collecting “stuff”; then we spend about 48 hours actually enjoying the “stuff” we’ve bought; and then we spend the second half of our life fixing, repairing, and maintaining all that “stuff” so we can give it away in a garage sale at five cents on the dollar after we retire. Like I said, it was funny wisdom, but sadly all too true. That is exactly what I did in my first life.

Developing Wisdom

I would also point out in my book the importance of interviewing retired people while a person is still in their senior year of high school in order to confirm for himself or herself the wisdom contained in my book.

I would also encourage high school students to get as much education as possible. In fact, I would tell them in the introduction of my book that unless they plan on going onto college, or a good trade school, not to worry about reading the rest of my book because they probably would never have enough money to buy much “stuff” anyways.


I would end the book by warning my readers how much the world will encourage them to unconsciously slide into living their life the way I lived mine.

Unfortunately, we don’t get a second chance at life so I’m re-thinking a better title for my book might be “You Buy Stuff, You Give Stuff Away, You Finally Achieve The Wisdom Necessary To Life A Happy And Successful Life, And Then You Die And Leave Whatever Is Left Of Your Stuff To Your Children So They Can Sell It In A Garage Sale.”

It’s a bit long but it would say what the book is about for those too busy buying “stuff” to have time to actually read it.

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One Response to Life Do Over and Collecting Stuff – Insights from the Wilderness #210

  1. Bobbie September 3, 2014 at 6:10 am #

    Great blog!

    Reminded me of Carlin and his “stuff” routine–look it up on Youtube if you’ve never seen it–very funny.

    It also reminded me of something I read by an organizational expert that I took to heart when we recently moved and downsized. He said that we should hold each object in our hands and decide if it brings us joy. If it does, then find a place of honor to display and enjoy it every day. If it doesn’t, even if great Aunt Bertha who died left it to us and we feel really guilty, we should let it go. I got rid of a lot (I have to confess, not EVERYTHING) and am now displaying things I’ve always loved but never found a place for. I use the same philosophy if I’m about to buy something. If it won’t bring me joy for a long time, I put it down and walk away…

Would love to hear your thoughts on this blog article