I recently read an article by Adam Mayers in the Toronto Star. The subject was Arlene Dickinson, best known as one of the tough-talking, no-nonsense venture capitalist co-hosts of CBC’s Dragon’s Den. When she was asked what her biggest life lesson was, she responded as follows:
“What is your biggest lesson?
When I was younger, I thought success showed up in certain ways — the home you had, the car you drove, the jewelry you wore, etc. The lesson as I have gotten older — and hopefully wiser — is that material trappings are just that. They trap some of your money and are not what’s important.
My grandma taught me to love people and like things. She’s right. It’s not about accumulating things with your money, but accumulating memories. That doesn’t mean you can’t have nice stuff, you just don’t need a lot of it.”
This mirrors my philosophy of life which I call “less is more.” Having been born into a blue collar family, I was not surrounded by what most would consider the normal material trappings in life. Even when returning to my birthplace to visit my parents, the simple accommodations seem very comfortable to me. There are no granite countertops, no ensuite bathrooms or designer furniture. The trappings others see as necessary, I see as nice to have, but not a priority. The things that bring me the most pleasure in life are found in nature: a hike in the woods, a swim in the lake, etc. I resist new technology unless I can classify it as a time-saver versus a time-waster. To give you an example: Playing video games is a concept I have yet to comprehend.
I agree with Arlene that you love people and like things, as our stuff is only ours for a short time. It eventually becomes someone else’s stuff. It’s not that I don’t have my vices; I do like nice things. But as I become older, I have found that the simpler I make my life, the more enjoyable life becomes.