Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Man Who Owns Much

My dad says, "A man who owns much is much owned." This message was lost on me for a long time, until 2005 when I began to process it. That year we emptied the home where I spent the majority of my life.

Now that we're emptying the home where my grandparents lived for 40 years, I find myself thinking about it nonstop. The things in their home need a new place to live and serve a purpose. Thus the cycle of owning stuff continues, eh?

When I started working on Abandoned Allies, I made decisions that would change my life--specifically how I perceive the owning of stuff. I quit my job during a recession, which lead to a change in my perception of the world and where I fit into it.

I was spending time with people who valued the chance to live in the land of the free--having risked their lives to get here. That made realities about my old world slightly less desirable. The slow change made me see some realities I had previously ignored. I recognized my silly spending habits. I saw that what I valued (ie: where I spent my time, energy, and money) wasn't what I really longed to value.

The wool had been lifted. I began to see why people elsewhere in world might think of Americans as wealthy, frivolous, and selfish. I started to understand why they might only see raw consumerism, capitalism, and a massive waste of resources.

It changed me forever. I felt lost between the old and new worlds. The two clashed in a painful way, and I'm still struggling to figure it out.

It is a tough thing to explain. One of the vets with whom I had coffee last year explained, "The Montagnards? They have it figured out." He understood this clashing of worlds, changing values, and the truth of being somewhat lost in between them.

Regardless, here's the epiphany: you don't need stuff to be happy. That truth can be realized painfully, but it will inevitably set you free.

This Norelco razor is one of the things we found in the attic.
I've started photographing things that I think are cool.

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