We are in part defined by what we have.
Some people have dreads or feathers and beads in their hair. Some people have tattoos. Some people have signature items like jackets, shoes, glasses and lipstick. I used to wear pins on my denim jacket that said cute and clever things. And I had bumper stickers on my car and drawings on my banjo. My locker was covered with magazine clippings I carefully selected to express myself in some small way. We have things to decorate ourselves or our things in expressive and aesthetic ways.
And we have tools with which we practice our skills. These things define us too. Instruments and mountain bikes and running shoes. Books and canvases and gardening gloves. They suggest who we are by sharing what we do or what we love doing. Because that’s part of what defines us too.
We are in part defined by what we have. This is a beautiful truth that adds diversity and color to life.
But that’s not what I want to write about today. As I looked at my socks, with holes in the heels and my ring with an empty hole where the stone used to be, I realized that we are also defined by the things we don’t have.
In some funny way, I am more proud of the things I don’t have than I am of the things I do. Yes, perhaps my DSLR camera says something about myself I can be proud of too. It says I enjoy photography. I’m proud of that to a degree.
But if I did not have it, I would be proud of my ability to be creative in its absence. Like the man who had no drum, so he beat on the bottom of a trash can.
We are defined by the things we do without. And defined by the things we ignore.
We are in part defined by what we have, and in part defined by what we do without.
Today I am just as thankful for the things I lack as I am for the things I have.