I have an odd little quirk. Unless it is a prized possession, I like it when things break. I like it when things break for some of the same reasons I enjoy giving things away or throwing them out. I like it because it pulls me back to what is really important.
Stuff is just stuff. It stays for awhile, and then it goes away. It is almost always replaceable, rarely of real value, and more often than not, nothing I even miss after a day or two.
It hasn't always been that way. Once upon a time, I was very, very attached to my stuff. I felt defined by what I owned. It was a very broken way to live. Cheap.
In a fit of spontaneous bullshit blasting, I decided to get rid of all but a handful of mementos, family photographs, my grandfather's WWII Navy shirt and ID bracelet, a baby blanket remained, but everything else was sold or given away, and we packed our young family up with little more than the clothes on our back to live in an RV for a year.
It was painful. Releasing my death grip on all of the shit I had consumed that was now consuming me was not an easy process. I won't even lie, I cried when some of it went away. Over stuff. Was that really me? It's hard to imagine now.
Something miraculous happened, though. As I immersed myself in my life, I slowly forgot what I was crying about. First one thing, then the next. How much stuff did I get rid of? Who can say? I am sure that it was thousands upon thousands of dollars worth of stuff. It felt so monumental until it ceased to matter at all.
Nearly twelve years after the fact, not only can I not fathom what I was crying about, I can't even remember what any of it was, save for a Little Tike's slide, and a plaid couch that was so ugly I'm not sure what the fuck I was thinking when I bought it.
We have another couch. There have been several in between. My children are long past plastic slides. There was no real loss involved. When things break, I throw them out without a moment's remorse. I take that moment while I sweep up the glass shards or scrape off the molten plastic to give thanks that I reached a place where intact hearts and the feelings of the one who caused the breakage, whether it is myself or a one of my kids, or someone else's toddler, matter more to me than whatever is going into the garbage can.
My heart is not broken.