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August 20, 2010

Don't sweat the small stuff

You can learn a lot about what people value just by being around them, observing for a few minutes.

Especially at a garage sale.

That's what I was doing from 5:30 am last Saturday morning to 3 pm in the afternoon: pricing, answering questions, pointing directions, exchanging change. And it was fun, but it got me thinking about a phrase someone dear to me lives by,

"Don't sweat the small stuff: all stuff is small stuff." 

I am talking about the attachment to material possessions. More than once, I saw a person snatch a bargain quickly to make sure the person beside them didn't see it. I even saw two people hashing it out over something.

I guess I shouldn't be talking. If there's anyone who "sweats the small stuff" in this life, it's me. I sweat situations that others, when confronted with the same dilemma, shrug their shoulders at. I sold an item at the sale for much less than I could have gotten. I didn't do it on purpose-I was just looking to get rid of the thing! But one man's junk is another's treasure, and I priced it to sell. And boy did it sell, in less than 5 minutes.

Immediately after it sold, while the overjoyed mother was walking down the sidewalk with her prized bargain, an old woman approached me and said she would have paid $10 more for it. My stomach dropped. For a while afterward, I kept thinking and thinking about the money I could have gotten from it, and what I would have done with that money. I asked myself, "What if someone would have taken $30, or $40?" 

The answer is: WHO CARES. Does it really matter in the scheme of things? Sure, I could have an extra $20 in the bank right now. I could have a lot of things that I want. But that isn't what matters.

What matters is my husband coming home to a hot meal after a long day of work. Watching movies with a friend. Seeing the smiles of the manor residents as I push them in a wheelchair along the beach. Driving four hours to spend a day or two with family I love. Those things are what matter-everything else is just details.

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