During divorce, we often lose many things, including our sense of who we are and our dreams for the future. We lose the path we have been on for so long and can begin to feel like we are wandering in a dark forest or floating alone in a vast ocean without an anchor or sense of direction.

Along with all these life changing loses, we also lose stuff. As shallow as this makes me sound, I do like stuff!

In my mind, there are two categories of stuff. The first category includes a roof over my head, a furnace, running water, a tooth brush, toilet paper, a refrigerator and all the other things we feel are necessities of life, that millions of others do not have.

The second category includes the cute pairs of shoes, a stylish outfit or two, a piece of nice furniture and an inspiring piece of artwork.

But I had a problem. I believed people would judge me by my choice of stuff, so I needed to have stuff they would like, too (I did my best to ignore all the things advertisers told me I needed in order to be happy, successful and loved; I was confused enough without input from them!).

I did not lose all my stuff during my divorce, but I lost enough to make me realize how much my life was defined by it and how much I defined myself by it.  At first I was frightened, then angry, then blaming and finally, embarrassed. Why do I feel I can’t recognize myself without stuff?

“Time to grow up sweetie!” I whispered to myself.

Stuff is fun and can bring joy and beauty into our lives, but it does not define us. We have the privilege of doing that ourselves. Stuff is not a substitute for meaning, purpose, or fulfillment. Stuff we do treasure can be found in unexpected places. I have a rock collection I love, simply from looking where I’m going.

Where are you going? What stuff will you leave behind? What will you treasure?