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Stuff vs. Meaning

Jeff Fulkerson

Posted on April 13 2018

“We don’t need more things, we need more meaning.” – anon


                As I was helping Roxanne clean out the back bedroom (it had become a catch-all after our middle son went off to college…10 years ago) I got to thinking about this saying.  As we were trying to decide what to keep and what to get rid of, you really have to ask yourself, ‘Is this something I value? What is its meaning to me?’

                We did get rid of a lot of stuff, but we kept running up against the problem of value.  Some things didn’t really have any meaning to us, but they still had intrinsic value.  It’s so easy to accumulate things.  So how do we deal with all of these things in our lives?

                We decided that if it had no meaning to us, we wouldn’t keep it. But if it still had value, we would either donate it or sell it as it might have meaning to someone else.

                I find this correlates to a lot of things in life; family, friend, jobs, possessions.  You have people you know that aren’t really friends, just acquaintances, that are just too much trouble or work to be around.  While you may WANT to kick ‘em to the curb and put a “FREE” sign on them, life doesn’t work that way.  You just decide not to spend any time there.

                The same is true for so many of our possessions.  An awful lot of them should be put out to the curb for someone else to use.  But we all have this little problem: we like stuff. And we like to get new stuff all the time.  Why we’re like that, I’ll leave to the philosophers.

                Which brings me to jewelry.  (You knew I’d get here somehow.)  I wear a lot of jewelry, a lot of the time.  I’ve made every piece I wear (except my wedding ring) and each piece has its own meaning to me.  I always wear the second ring I ever made.  Why? Because I made it for me, because I wanted a silver and turquoise ring and after making the first one, I discovered I could make one that I would wear.  It symbolizes to me that I can do this, I can make something that measures up. I’ve made a lot of jewelry since then, and frankly, I’ve made a lot of pieces that make that second ring pale in comparison, but none of the subsequent pieces have the meaning of that first ring I made for myself.

                So when you acquire a piece of jewelry, whether you make it yourself or purchase it, make sure it speaks to you.  We have too much stuff to spend money on things just for the sake of spending money on stuff.  What does this piece say about you?  What does it say to you?  What does it represent to you? Does it move you?

                One of the nicest compliments I have ever received on my jewelry was from a shop owner who said “When I look at your jewelry, it’s so beautiful I want to cry.” That kind of emotion says the jewelry had meaning for her.  So in jewelry, as in all of life look for meaning. It will enrich your life.

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