Thirty four years have passed since Madonna first proclaimed that “we are living in a material world.”
I admit to having favorite items in my house; a cheery yellow enamel bowl that is the perfect size for an evening snack of popcorn, needle-nose jewelry pliers which fit the palm of my hand precisely, and a soup spoon. Its desirable rounded bowl will have me digging through the silverware drawer in search of it even if it means my soup will become cool.
Those items notwithstanding, I have never considered myself a material girl until recently when I had to say good-bye to two possessions I relied on daily. I found out it was hard to give them up even though I had used them well past their prime. I said good-bye to my trusty Ford 500 just days before my laptop decided to go wonky.
Emptying all of the belongings out of my car was like an archeological dig representing many years of my life. Under the seats and in the pockets on the back of the seats were Sudoku and word search books, more compact umbrellas than I have ever opened, multi-colored gel pens and highlighters, sticks of gum stuck to the foil wrappers, loose mints, drink mix packets, and state maps.
Yes, actual maps, the folded paper kind along with gazetteers for Illinois and Wisconsin. There were single gloves, hair ties, and squished tissue boxes. My daughter’s rhinestone tiara pink cowboy hat was moved directly from the back window of the old car to the same position in the new car.
Before leaving the car lot I hopped out of a car which was now mine and hugged the hood of my old car trying to grab hold of all the memories it held within. I was surprised that seeing my old car in the rear-view mirror as I drove away caused my tears to well. I did not expect to be so affected by the loss of a possession. It felt odd to not simply go with the flow and quickly adapt to my new ride.
At a leadership conference I once attended we took a “Strengthfinders” test. It was a multitude of questions designed to show a person’s top strengths which were categorized by different themes of one’s personality.
One of my top strengths was adaptability. They defined adaptability as: “the ability to live in the present, freely and willingly able to respond to the demands and changes of the moment. When things change, people with the strength of Adaptability easily adapt and change -- they are flexible. They come most alive living in the moment.”
The lapse in my adaptability had less to do with an uncharacteristic materialism and much more to do with a desire to turn back time, to capture all of the moments that had been lived inside the four doors of an indigo sedan.
Closing the lid on a computer which witnessed great joy and grief with each keystroke and every uploaded photograph created the same desire. I am hoping my adaptability will return in time to go computer shopping with me.
I think flexibility will be in order because I’ve researched my options online and realize that I know very little about things like operating systems and RAM and gigabytes. Oh, and 2 in 1 convertibles which evidently are nothing like a ragtop!
My plan is to live in the moment and carry the memories with me as this car takes me on adventures worth writing about on a computer that is waiting for me to discover that it is exactly the one for me.