What I learned when my house burned

Focus on loving people instead of loving things

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A random summer evening in August, my life changed forever. I was on holiday with my husband and my children with my in-laws, as a single phone call from my neighbor sent my life into the furthest and coldest galaxy. My home was eaten by a fire that made everything black, charred and dead. All that I owned was gone in an instant. When I look back, I learned three important things of losing all my earthly possessions:

Stop overanalyzing the wrong choices

Before the fire, I spent an infinite number of hours and days analyzing whether I should pursue a career in management or whether I should keep writing and advising. The fire taught me that this choice is totally irrelevant. The right and important choice is about whether I feel comfortable and whether I am grateful to my husband and my children. When it’s in place, all other choices will come naturally.

All that can be bought is dead and irrelevant

Yes, you are happy with your new stilettos. But I can promise you that you will not miss them if your house is burning. Your focus will change to what’s more important. So enjoy your material benefits, but know your focus should be somewhere else. Your shoes are dead things that can not love you back.

In short: Love people, not things

In the days after the fire, my family, two children and two adults, could be in a regular car with all our things, as we almost did not own anything. And guess what? I did not miss my stuff either. It was in the midst of shock over the fire a fierce realization that all that I had gathered meant nothing.

Buddhists say that if you own more than three things, the things will own you. I have never loved the people in my life as much as I did after the fire. Therefore, I will own much less stuff in my new life. I will continue to feel that love is the most important thing.

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