by Bella Jack and I put ourselves into a box more than 20 years ago. We met while traveling in England, got engaged and immediately thought we had to start accumulating stuff, settle into a home with our stuff, get more stuff, move into a bigger home…… I’d better stop short of plagiarizing the great, late George Carlin. Oh how I miss his brilliance, how he saw through all of the crap. He was trying tell us all the secret to happiness….but I digress. The point is that we were trying to live the lives that we thought we were supposed to live. We would work 9 to 5 jobs, buy cars and a home, fill it to the brim with nice stuff and that that was the secret to happiness.. It was even more about the stuff than the jobs, the cars and the house. So within a week of getting engaged, we had purchased our first BIG box full of stuff. We didn’t have a house to put it in, or even a car to transport it, let alone the jobs to pay for it, but that didn’t stop us. At one point, we had to transport our overloaded backpacks along with the BIG box on a packed commuter train to London. Even when the box burst open as we tried to hoist it off of the train, it didn’t dawn on us that maybe we shouldn’t have bought any of that stuff. We didn’t need any of it, not the queen size down duvet and matching pillows, the mattress and pillow protectors, the COMPLETE bedding set, the Bodum coffee plunger, the coffee mugs, the cookie and pastry cutters…Yes, you heard me right “cookie and pastry cutters.” What were we thinking? Instead of getting the loud and clear message when that BIG box burst open and screamed, “You idiots, you need to walk away, no RUN and leave me here. Be free,” we said to one another, “We really should stop traveling, ‘settle down’ and find a place for all our stuff. We had seen George’s routine, All My Stuff, and were big fans, yet it never occurred to us that in his 5 minutes of humor, he had revealed the secret to happiness. At the time, for us the pursuit of happiness equaled the pursuit of stuff. As a result, we continued to do what we thought we were supposed to do and in doing so, put ourselves inside of an even bigger box. It would be nearly 20 years before that box would burst open, and we would set ourselves free. George was right.