Pitner Orthodontics - November 2018

THE STRAIGHT UP

November 2018

You Can’t Take ItWith You How We Find What We’re Truly Thankful For

things I didn’t need, I felt better. I was tired of having all this stuff following me around, like a monkey on my back. Freeing myself from it was, well, freeing! I wanted to clear out everything until all my stuff could fit in a duffel bag and I could just go. There are things we buy because we need them, and then there are things we buy because we think they will make us happy. Sometimes an object does bring us joy, but more often than not, the happiness we get from a thing fades. Then we’re just left with a bunch of stuff that we have to haul around until we get rid of it one day. And if we don’t get rid of it, our kids will have to. At one point in time, I had five sets of china all stuffed into my china cabinet. My grandparents had barely used their china and left it all to me when they passed. It was all beautiful, but I had no use for even a single set of china, let alone five! I kept it around for years, trying to sell it all at one point, but no one wanted it. I finally donated it all, because, no matter how pretty it was, you come to realize it’s all junk. I don’t mean everything we leave behind for our kids or grandkids is junk that will end up at Goodwill. When my grandmother passed away, she left me her diamond ring. This wasn’t her engagement ring —my grandfather couldn't afford something so

I am an involuntary minimalist. This comes from being married to my husband. All my life, I was a somewhat messy person with a lot of stuff. Meanwhile, Kirk has always been super tidy and doesn’t like having stuff everywhere. After 20 years, he wore me down until something unbelievable happened: I had fun getting rid of my clothes! When we moved a few years ago, we downsized and got rid of a bunch of stuff. My biggest challenge was cleaning out my closet. In our old house, I had a big closet all to myself, full of clothes for every occasion. After I finished going through it, my floor was covered in clothing and the closet was still full! Six months later, I purged my closet again, finding even more things I hadn’t worn in years. I swear, it was like a clown car of clothes. I purged the closet two more times, and I realized that each time I got rid of something, it was like a weight was being lifted frommy shoulders. Some stuff weighs us down as much as it brings us joy. Each time I got rid of “THE STUFF FILLING UP OUR DRAWERS IS NEVER WHAT WE’RE TRULY GRATEFUL FOR IN LIFE; INSTEAD, IT’S THE PEOPLE WE LOVE.”

nice when they got married — but a ring Granddad bought her 10 years after they got married. I took the ring along with some other old jewelry, and I had it made into a brand- new ring. I love my ring, not because of the diamonds, but because of the stories I have frommy grandparents. AroundThanksgiving, we talk a lot about gratitude. The stuff filling up our drawers is never what we’re truly grateful for in life; instead, it’s the people we love. The relationships and memories we have with each other are what give us the most joy in life. Research by Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a professor of psychology at Cornell University, shows that experiences give us greater joy in the long run than stuff. A new car is old in six months, but adventures in Europe or holiday dinners with your family hold their value forever. The stories we share and our relationships with the people we love are the most valuable things in life. Everything else is just baggage. So why not spend more time with the people

we love and less time gathering stuff? –Dr. Leslie Pitner

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