To Be Material

500 words on the realization of an honest life.

“I’m going to stop right there,” I stuttered into my iPhone, my words wavering off.

My friend chuckled in response, but I could tell it wasn’t out of humor – rather, out of humility. I stopped myself mid-sentence when I realized how ridiculous I’d sounded. More so, how selfish and how uncaring I’d let my thoughts become.

I had told him that I was thankful for having an extra suitcase for when I move back to the United States. How I still had a lot of purchases to make as I wasn’t fully satisfied with the amount of shopping I’d done while living in Paris.

How pompous I’d been. How much arrogance I’d indulged in.

He had just told me of his missionary work in Mozambique and how it was abruptly rerouted due to threats on his life.  In the last few days, he’d traveled to the rural towns in South Africa to fulfill his assignment. He spoke not of the difficulties he had encountered, such as not having access to running water, but of his observations of the people around him. How the people – living with just two pairs of clothing, day clothes and church attire – were able to lead such pure and happy lives. Nothing material could outweigh the joy derived from just being alive – to breathe, to see, to smell, to touch, and to sense.

“You wouldn’t survive here,” his voice tolled on the line.

Frankly, he was right. The person who I am at this very moment would not survive a life where comfort is an abstract illusion. Every Monday through Friday I go to work where I’m able to collaborate on innovative ideas and earn a salary of which I’m able to support myself financially. I’m able to build my credit score and pay my bills – my student loans which I’d accrued from my undergraduate education. I’m able to afford a gym membership in one of the most expensive cities in the world. With or without occasion, I’m able to fly across the world and experience another life. If I’m bored on the weekends, I’m able to entertain myself by shopping at the many boutiques along my street. And if I want to, I can leave the lights on at night just so that I don’t feel entirely alone when it gets dark outside. I’m living a life of leisure and I’ve been blinded by its convenience.

Following our 25 minute conversation, I immediately began writing my heart to you. My heart is heavy as I’m desperate to rid myself of my apathetic delusion. I’m embarrassed by the materialistic perspectives of life which I’d allowed to consume my thoughts. Moreover, I’m plainly disappointed in my lack of self awareness.

I’m reminded that it’s the people in our lives who bring us the most value – not the objects we amass and satiate our suitcases with. I’m reminded that life’s greatest purpose is to fill our hearts and inspire others. I’m reminded that no matter how insignificant we may feel in a world so grand, our greatest influence which we may gift to the world is found in the way we treat others and the energy we put forth.

While I’m at first ashamed by my negligence, I’m thankful for my ability to learn from it and move forward. I’m thankful for my ability to reflect and change. I’m thankful for my friend for humbling me in a way I least expected it. And ultimately, I’m thankful for you, my readers – for giving my words a chance to resonate within your heart and set forth a greater purpose for living.

Categories: on the realTags: , , , , , , , ,


I’m a proud alumni of the University of Texas at Austin. Finance turned consulting professional. Lover of white nail polish, creative writing, and Spanish architecture. I believe it's important to laugh at yourself and not take everything so seriously. Stargazer? I'm not good at bios. You should probably read my blog.

1 Comment

  1. Malcolm

    “Life’s greatest purpose is to fill our hearts and inspire.” That’s a truly an amazing quote. Thank you for giving the objective of my life a description. 🙏🏿😉

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