You probably have enough

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This a decidedly non-technical post, and even a little preachy. I post it here because you, the technical professional, are the perfect audience for it.

I have enough stuff. I never think so, of course, but I do. I don’t consider myself rich, but if you have a comfortable place to sleep,  enough food to eat and you can plan for your future, you are rich. And when we are rich enough to have “enough” stuff, that usually means we have too much stuff.

Stuff costs money that could be put to better use, stuff needs painting, cleaning, fueling, feeding, storage and caring for. Stuff is a burden. So I decided a few years back that I had enough stuff. We gave away a lot of things, and we don’t buy any new (meaning we didn’t have one before)  things – only replacement things. We’d rather “do something” than “have something”. But even so, when birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas rolled around, we got more stuff. So I asked all of my friends and relatives to do something for me.

  I ask folks that want to give me a gift (for whatever reason) to donate the price they would have paid for the gift to a charity they care about. This does a few things:

  • They have to find a charity to care about
  • The fact that I made it through a calendar year now actually means something
  • Someone else gets the help they need
  • Everybody feels better

No, I’m not saying these things so you’ll think I’m a wonderful person - the reason I’m posting this here is that as a technical professional you probably have enough stuff like I do. So I ask you to try this out. Try it for one birthday, or one Holiday, or even for a year. I can promise this: it will change your life, the life of the person who gives the gift, and the person’s life who receives it. If you do try it, I’d love to have a comment here on your thoughts.

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  • I agree. And you cannot take any of it with you.

  • Excellent!

  • I've asked family and friends to do this, I wish they would. The things you own, own you.

  • Buck, this holds so much truth in it and giving has always been better feeling than maintaining your own stuff.

  • Every year a part of my bonus goes to our favorite charity. Marina and I stopped giving each other 'things' long ago.

  • Not so sure, Buck. After all, you know what they say about Teaching one to fish vs. Giving one some fish. I spent many years in poverty and misery, and trust me, the donations in the form of food made it somewhat easier, but did not make me feel any better. All I needed altogetjer was for someone to spend some time and teach me about how to get a sense of direction. Poverty is a b*****h, and charity is its little sister.

  • Not giving to help others is a bigger mistake. Charity should not be a "feel better" event - it should have a defined purpose. Check out what the Heifer Project does and you'll see it's far from a handout.

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