The trappings of security

This morning I got an email from on of my friends. She is my hero in terms of not having ‘stuff.’ In the past two years our lives have both settled down somewhat. No more big moves having settled into stable relationships and jobs. Here is an excerpt of the email:

“…on my way back here, i left my knapsack in the cab. had my laptop, car keys, my camera, my mom’s blue ring, all the little jewelry and make up I own, plus a few other favorites. my mom’s ring bugged me the most. but it’s made me recognize that i was getting too attached to it — and by extension, i think i have been getting too attached to the trappings of security in general. i think i mean that i’ve become less free, and more concerned with things (like jewelry) that i never gave a damn about before.”

It made me think…what are the trappings of security? is it such a bad thing to have security? As we get older (a fact that can’t be helped) is it not natural to want a certain amount of security? have I become less free? Weighed down by commitments, responsibilities and belongings?

The belongings part is easy one one to answer and fix. Within a year of my last move out here…my furniture and belongings have multiplied like rabbits. I have a running list of things I should/could buy. Every day that I bring bags of stuff into the apartment, I think about the two large bags full of yet unhung frames that I bought over three months ago. I just have keep reminding myself that belongings don’t make me happy and be vigilant about the ‘things’ I accumulate. If I had to pack up and leave tomorrow, could I leave all my things behind? The answer would probably be yes. It’s a constant struggle to not be a part of the consumer society that in essence defines who you are by what you have. (especially here in LA) it think its was in Rich Dad Poor dad that said something along the lines that its experiences that enrich your life…not things.

The commitment part weighing you down is a harder issue to deal with. Yes living life alone would make things much simpler. But then I have to think about what really is the meaning of a rich and meaningful life if its not to form relationships. Relationships ultimately means commitments. But does that mean losing part of your freedom? Perhaps. But it shouldn’t mean you lose the freedom to be yourself. A great relationship ultimately does give you security, the kind that really counts. Knowing someone will be there for you, watch your back, tell you when you are messing up and help you pick up the pieces. The security that empowers you to believe in yourself. Surely there are some things worth sacrificing for that kind of security.

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