My initial thoughts on this topic before even reading the book; freedom. Yet within my mind at times, a prison.
But that'd be cheating, so I will explain a bit more.
The freedom of not being attached to "stuff" is liberating. Not being worried about clothes or having the latest gizmos, the detachment from material items is something I enjoy. I've survived being unemployed, I've survived being homeless with nothing buy what was in my backpack. It wasn't the lack of stuff that bothered me, I've never been prone to jealousy. Really, I'm a simple man who likes simple things. I buy my clothes second hand or at Walmart, I wait until my shoes have holes. I do genuinely try to live my life like this, I love it.
This of course, dovetails nicely with the mendicants. You all know of my love for Holy Father's Francis & Dominic, and you all know of my discernment with Secular Orders. A big portion of that is my lifestyle, I model my life after Francis & Dominic (especially Francis). That includes Gospel Poverty.
But I do have a problem, which is getting treated. It's a problem which in a couple of cases had put me at odds with the above. I used to have a video game collection, I would buy games thinking "I'll play them eventually". However I never would; they would remain on the shelf. Always something different to do, always distractions. ADHD is a harsh enemy at times, and "I'll get around to it" is one of it's fiercest weapons. That and the constant need for stimulation. I would get things on sale and whatnot, but stuff adds up.
Eventually, I decided it was time. Looking at that collection one last time, I told myself "that's not what I want for myself. It goes against how I want to live my life". It was time to get rid of those games. I went to the local EB Games and traded in ~85 of them for two titles. The games I kept were ones I would play with friends, ones my wife might enjoy if she were to try it, Two or three titles were sentimental ones. Fast forward a bit, and we cleaned up our entertainment area. The 360 and the Wii have lost their appeal for the most part. Haven't touched them in months. In fact, the next console upgrade cycle I've decided to skip it. I'm thinking of giving away some of what remains. I still play games, of course. I play on my PC now, however I now have a firm rule; I will not buy another game until I complete it.
Speaking of my PC, I recently upgraded my PC for work related purposes. I'm going to build and deploy my own virtual network so I can practice for certifications and the like, and I need horsepower to do so. I shopped smart, bought from several different locations, and paid 60% less than what I would have. it took a lot of effort to do this, but I'm proud that I went under budget. I built it myself as well. Now, however, I have spare parts from what I used before. And a friend of mine donated to me several spare parts. I was going to keep them lying around in the event someone needed something....however I've also been thinking of cobbling some of the things together and donating them to others. I'm not sure how saving something in the event a friend needs something fits in with Gospel Poverty. Hopefully the book can answer this.
Meanwhile, I picked up a tablet, and I use the kindle store. I have a reading list of seven books now, with ironically "Happy are you poor" being one of them. Keep in mind I haven't read a book cover-to-cover....ever. That ADHD thing? Applies to books too. I've always skipped pages and sections. I'm 30 years old, and I seriously can't remember if I ever read a book cover to cover. Children's books like the Bernstain Bears, probably. Even the Bible, there's books I have never read (Numbers? COME ON, IT'S A BLOODY CENSUS POLL). Again, hopefully my brain and body will at one point allow me to do this. Mental illness is a tricky thing, and managing a mental illness can be difficult.
Anyway, despite modeling my life to follow Gospel Poverty, I was not immune to "stuff", specifically the above story about video games. I believe that is the one of the few times I have been caught up in something, and I have tried to temper it. But I will freely say that I love the freedom living that life offers so much, that I do make the effort to continue to live in that way. At this point I can say I spend my money on the following items;
I did upgrade my computer (except the video card, it is currently still very serviceable), however I usually go five to six years between upgrade cycles. This last time, assuming everything works, I'm aiming for ten years.
I enjoy McDoubles. I am cutting back on my McDoubles intake.
I buy name-brand Kraft Dinner when it is on sale, I love that stuff. When it hits a good price, I buy one or two CASES (think 100+ boxes) and get dirty looks from the cashier. But I don't care, because it's tasty and cheap!
I'd like to think the above is reasonable.....but we'll see what the book says. Hopefully this book can help me continue this journey I love so.
I would love feedback on my post, and on this topic. This is a matter close to my heart, and I promise to take all what you say close to my heart as well.