What Do You Really Own?
We spend much of our lives working and struggling to accumulate—power, prestige, houses, cars, titles, and assets. We seek to possess because if we have enough, we will matter; others will see us and value us. Therefore, we strive to own more, so we can feel we are more. Unfortunately, we are bombarded with this message daily.
Margaret Atwood wrote a moving poem that puts owning and accumulating into perspective.
The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the center of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,
No, they whisper. You own nothing. You were a visitor, time after time Climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming. We never belonged to you. You never found us. It was always the other way round.
It is a good reminder that we don’t take anything with us. Research on the last conversations of individuals as they neared the end of their life showed that very few individuals wished they had owned more or had more titles at work. No, they wanted deeper relationships, healed arguments, and more experiences. “I wish I would have gone to Europe instead of buying that new car,” one individual said. “I wished I would have taken my children to the beach instead of working so much,” another said. There is wisdom in this way of thinking. Our brains tell us we will live forever, yet I look in the mirror and realize I am aging.
Take a moment to evaluate and realize that we own nothing; everything is constantly changing. So, hone your focus to what matters.
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