The Stuff of Life

There is one thing I can unequivocally state: No thing will make life perfect. Perfect moments are born of something intangible, something that goes beyond the sum of the objects. Things can participate in the making of a perfect moment, but they are not the assurance of perfect moments.

Case in point: my boys were crazy all morning. It was pouring rain. After an aborted attempt at at playing in the woods, we returned home. They were insane. Running, wrestling, breaking things, tearing apart the couches. And then suddenly, one wanted to play Play-Doh. Suddenly, there were four of us sitting at the table playing Play-Doh, using the Play-Doh oven and making Play-Doh snakes. A little moment of perfection passed through. Not because of the Play-Doh oven or the four new pots of Play-Doh we cracked open. But because there were the four of us, because we were all involved, because we weren’t fighting or negotiating.

No one could have created that moment. Yes, there were things, but the things did not make the moment.

I vacillate frequently between a fervent desire for the monastic minimalism of living in a hotel room, and reality, which is that I live on Earth with other humans and therefore must face it that stuff is going to be part of our story.

The Monastic Minimalism of Expecting First-Time Parents

What I want is for that stuff to not be in control of me and my space; on the other hand, I want more Play-Doh moments, where I can be the hero by bringing out four new pots of Play-Doh that I have kept sacredly hidden for a moment like this. I want this to be a reality without forgetting where I put them, without having to move two suitcases and a sewing machine to get to them, or even forgetting that I had them at all.

I have a recurring thought when it comes to the Stuff of Life: Where your treasure is your heart will be too. I will be exploring this thought in further detail in another post, but it’s worth mentioning here too.

For me, treasure in this context means money: whatever I sink my money into is where my heart is going to be.

If I want my heart to be fully present for my family (this desire can fluctuate, given how the scalawags are behaving on any given day), then my heart needs to not be on the money pit that can be my hobbies, my wardrobe, my coffee mugs. This is basic math.

The Stuff of Life is a catalyst for contented living, it is not life itself.

If I want more Play-Doh moments, I need to stop investing in Play-Doh and start playing with it.

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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