When I was little I had a recurring nightmare. My Mum and I were trying to escape a burning building, while being chased by a scary figure. Several floors up, all the stairways were blocked, but we couldn’t use the lifts. I was, and still am, pretty terrified of fire. I think this is fairly understandable. After all, when out of control, fire is deadly.
Let me ask you, then, the clichéd question. Imagine your house is on fire. Imagine that all humans and animals are safe. In this hypothetical scenario, you can only save three things. What do you go for?
When researching this post, I came across a whole range of different ideas.
In no particular order:
Boxes of trinkets
Baby books (or first pair of shoes, etc)
First or favourite teddy bear
Laptop/ hard drive
Did that give you any ideas? Had you already thought of some of the above?
Obviously, in a real fire, you’d be in a state of panic; I might think to grab my handbag, which contains ID, access to cash, and my mobile phone. Other than that, though, I’d just be concerned with getting out.
There are lots of possessions which are important to me, though, of course.
I have a charm bracelet, which has been added to since my eighteenth birthday. Each charm added represents a milestone or special occasion in my life. Perhaps, with difficulty, it could be replaced, by repurchasing a similar chain and trinkets. Really, though, it wouldn’t be the same.
I also have a few things that belonged to my late, biological, father; his copy of The Lord of the Rings, a bible he gave me for my Christening, a fountain pen he gave to my uncle for his birthday.
Over the years I have created a kind of scrapbook, with letters and cards, and pictures my sister made for me when she was little. This would have to be in my top three!
Lots of my music and photos are now in "the cloud", so my priorities have changed on that score. I suppose that's the reason so many people choose their laptop or hard drive; now that our lives are digitised, it would be a devastating loss, if you didn't have a back-up (outside of the burning house).
Looking around my room, though, I don’t see much that would be irreplaceable.
Bed, printer, alarm clock, cosmetics, clothes? Whatever.
Actually, if I got the "replacement cost" insurance money, I'd have a whale of a time walking around Covent Garden compiling the new contents of my wardrobe. Upgrading to the latest versions of all my electrical goods wouldn't bother me too much either. Equally, choosing new decorations and knick-knacks for my bedroom would be my idea of heaven.
Oh no, look what I've gone and done now! I've potentially made myself look so materialistic that I'd enjoy setting fire to my home!
I'm begging you, please don't think that! Admittedly, I would love being given the opportunity to overhaul my wardrobe, redecorate and refurnish, or invest in a new bookcase full of tomes. I certainly wouldn't give up the irreplaceable things in my life, though. A home holds memories as well as those nostalgic trinkets. Even now that many of our possessions reside in "the cloud", we don't. Experiences like your first bungee jump or sky dive or a gap year travelling can't be replaced (although, to be entirely fair, couldn't be saved from a fire either!).
I don't want you to think that I'm criticising all material possessions; I certainly have my fair share. However, given that my main purpose in writing this blog is to reconsider the way I live, and what I spend my money on, I hope that this thought exercise provides a useful opportunity to consider what is most important to you. It may well be a Kindle, iPad or Playstation, and that's fine, I wouldn't berate you for it!
I also don't want you to think that I'm being all high and mighty, looking down on you. I'm honestly not. I just wanted to point out that some things are replaceable, while others are not.
Mulling on this might influence what I spend my money on. How about you?
Thanks for reading. xxx