Being Happy With What You Have

Or Why Are You One Upping Me?

The older I get, the less I understand rivalries. Why are some people so hung up on believing they are better than or have more than someone else? That’s all it is by the way, is a belief. Abundance is an accumulation of material things, yes, but true abundance is about love, joy, family, friends, experiences, memories — these are the things that fill us up; make us whole. All the other things are just that, things. Stuff that makes you happy for a nano of a minute.

Yet, when we are in a social setting, we sit around boasting and comparing what we have accumulated. And it’s not just about things either. I don’t have to give examples, because clearly you know what I’m talking about and we’re all guilty of it on some level, at some point in our lives.

Getting Rid of Shit

When I decided to leave the United States, one of the many positive outcomes was getting rid of all of the crap I had accumulated over the years. I made a commitment to only take along what was important and necessary. I was able to reduce 59 years of stuff, to three suitcases. The challenge for me was to keep myself from doing it all over again. Could I show restraint at all the new shops I would discover in Europe?

My Plan

What I set out to accomplish was fairly simple . . . only buy things you need. Simple but rather broad. “Need” is difficult to define. Take for example a stylish red chair I recently purchased. Do I need that red chair? Of course the answer is no. However, that red chair has several purposes: 1) a valet for my clothes in my bedroom, 2) a place to sit to put on my shoes, 3) an extra chair for an additional dinner guest, etc. So in fact, I need that chair, but did I need a fancy 350 Euro chair? Could I have just purchased a 10 Euro folding chair?

Mind Games

We talk ourselves into many things on a daily basis. If I do that, then this or if I eat that chocolate cake, I’ll skip lunch or workout twice as hard at the gym. We are masters of deception, but it’s how we humans keep from giving up.

I admitted defeat a long time ago. What I tell myself now serves as a compromise and a guideline. Absolutes no longer apply and that’s a good thing. If you set up roadblocks and restrictions for yourself, you are bound to fail and end up beating yourself up. Who doesn’t do this?

The End of the Day

When all is said and done, you have one person to answer to: yourself. Therefore, if you brag about what you have or buy an expensive car just to impress others, it’s your own reflection that you have to face. If you can look at yourself in the mirror and not judge yourself harshly, well then, good for you. I’m learning life’s lessons the hard way. My intuition tells me that there are only two things that I have that might impress others: integrity and authenticity; everything else is just a shiny object without real meaning.

So when people around me are one upping one another and working hard at being something they are not, I am trying my best to focus on their intentions and my own path going forward. Are they so broken that your opinion of their Rolex matters? If that’s the case, it’s more sad then annoying.

Working hard at being perfect is exhausting. First I have to convince myself that I am enough, then I won’t need to tell you, you will see for yourself.

Upcoming Travel

My trip to Milan to see friends was cancelled by EasyJet. I pouted for five minutes and then rescheduled. The pandemic helped me to realize just how flexible and resilient I can be. Instead, I’ll stay close to home and spend a few days at the beach. Maybe (who knows these days). Nantes/Pornic in August. Toronto, Denver and Detroit in September and Northern Europe in October.


I was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1959. I've lived in several different places, but this is the first time I have resided overseas. My career has gone in multiple directions; however, education is my passion. My Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from New York University has opened many doors and for that I am grateful. Writing has become a pastime I enjoy and hope to further pursue. The future holds no limitations and I am keeping all of my options open. I have landed in Portugal and there is a vast and beautiful world to explore.


  1. Dear One,
    Yes you could get a 5 Euro folding chair but that would not have brought you joy. As a committed MAKER of things, as an artist, I love things, beautiful things. So I think it is much better to spend real money on something I love and will want to have for years in the future. I don’t have to buy another red chair or any other chair because I love my red chair so much. I learned that in sweden, where the idea of qvalite’ is of primary importance, not the act of buying, which I, as an american really understand. Buy use and throw away…the american dream? Too often it is. I don’t regret for a minute the dining chairs I bought 20 years ago and will never tier of them. I think buying what you love and will cherish is never a wrong plan…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was hoping you’d validate my purchase. You’re right of course! When you return to Faro, you can exclusively claim the red chair.


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