Remember that Red Hot Chili Peppers song: Give it Away?
You know the one.
It came out in the early 90’s; from their Blood Sugar Sex Magik album.
It was the time period of the tube socks.
Here’s a refresher:
Was this video shot at Burning Man ’91? So much body paint! But let’s be real, those mirrored pants are amazing. I also love the glittery lips. Can glittery lips be a thing again? Let’s make it a thing!
Recently, I came across an article that talked about the origins of that song. According to
internet lore this article, Antony Kedis wrote the song after being on the receiving end of an altruistic gesture. Simply put, he admired the beloved jacket of his then-girlfriend and she in turn gave it to him. He asked her why she would part with something she loved so dearly, and she replied that by giving away the things she loved, she was opening herself up to good things (positive energy, good karma, good fortune, etc). *heavily paraphrased…but overall that was the message*
This silly/ random/possibly untrue internet article totally sent my head reeling! A painfully obvious lightbulb went off. Take what you love and give it to others. Spread that love around! Make other people happy by giving them things you love dearly! Give away your awesome jacket to your couch-surfing boyfriend who has beautiful long hair!
Now, it’s in my nature to be a bit of a hoarder. Maybe this is a trait common to most people; something that is deeply embedded in our primal being. For me, I don’t want to part with things I have attached sentimental or nostalgic significance to. Nor do I want to part with the things that *might* be of importance to me later.
My brain tells me to save it. Keep it. Store it away. WHAT IF you want that someday. Better pack it away in the closet, or in a box, for the day when you might want that special thing again. Surely I am not the only person who does this.
But, what if I stopped hoarding things for myself?
What if I stopped holding on to material possessions for the sake of nostalgia?
What if, instead, I chose to give the things I love and admire to other people; so that they too can love and admire them.
Real life example:
We recently parted with all of our cloth diaper stash. All the diapers, except 1 that held sentimental value to me. This diaper is the last remaining physical evidence that we cloth diapered. I remember buying it on a trip back to NY in 2012. I remember how cute this diaper looked under sun dresses that the girls would wear; and how cute it looked attached to crawling baby butts scuttling around the house. I wanted to save this weird memento with the mindset that one day I will give this diaper to my girls and say: Here! This was yours when you were a baby! Take it and love it!
Now, if my girls are anything like me, their response (when given something they wore as a baby…and something thats sole purpose is to contain poop) will be : Ew! Why do you still have that? Why would I want that? You are so weird! I can’t believe you kept that! Thank you, but Ew.
A few weeks ago, best friend had a baby girl and asked to borrow this diaper for a photo shoot. She loved the pattern but could no longer find it in stores because it has been discontinued. She had spent many an hour scouring used diaper forums and eBay in search of this diaper with no luck of finding it; a very odd thing that only fellow cloth diaper users will understand.
Of course I let her borrow the diaper, but a part of me felt that gollum-esque feeling of I Want That Back!
How stupid is that? A diaper!
When I stopped by her house several days later to drop off new baby goodies (and to pick up the borrowed diaper), she remarked how frustrated she was with herself for not purchasing that particular pattern when it was released a few years ago.
In that moment I thought of Anthony Kedis, painted silver, telling me to: Give It Away, Now!
So I told her to keep it. She would obviously get more use out of it than I would over the next few years. But above all else, I wanted to give her something that I loved and that held a good deal of nostalgia for me. Why? Because I love her, and want to give her the things that I hold dear.
What if we all did that?
What if, every time someone remarked how much they loved or admired something of ours we gave it to them.
No questions asked. Just: Here, take it! I want you to have it.
The truth is, even when we give away our nostalgic goodies we still have the memories (and maybe a few photos saved on our computer) to remember that thing by.
…and if we’re not sure we’ll be able to remember that one-special-thing if we were to give it away, maybe it’s not actually as special as we think.
Maybe that’s where true happiness and contentment live; not within the things that we hold in our hands, but within the people around us whose hands we hold. Their happiness = Our happiness.
Maybe it’s true that we allow more room in our lives for good things to happen when we open up more physical space and free ourselves from our possessions.
All very deep, right? Half-naked, silvery, Anthony Kedis thinks so.
Life Lesson: Listen to more Red Hot Chili Peppers and give more stuff away.