Very f

ew things universally matter to all people. Everything wants to matter. You determine what matters to you. The concept of what matters most is subjective and varies from person to person. Each individual determines their own priorities and what they believe to be important. In order to achieve a sense of fulfillment, it’s important to focus on what matters to us personally.

What matters to you is different from what matters to me and that is perfect. You choose what matters to you. It seems that a person should be in the business of doing what matters to them. Clothing matters to me so I was a clothing designer. Food matters to me so I spend my money buying quality ingredients to make food and spend good money eating at great restaurants. Travel matters, so most of my money is spent traveling to cool places. Family matters more to me than anything, so I choose to live near family and spend my time with them. None of this needs to matter to you. The important thing is that we make things matter to us. It’s important to note that what matters to one person may not hold the same importance to another.

Everyone wants to matter. As children, we should matter to our parents. That is not always the case. If we felt like we did not matter to our parents, we may have to spend lots of time working with therapists to unravel the detrimental effect on our young selves. As an employee, one hopes that we are making a difference for our company and that we matter to the employer. But how often are we made to feel replaceable, like it doesn’t matter that we are there? The employer who shows their employees that they matter has a much better retention rate and culture that people want to work within.

Places Matter

The concept of mattering can also be applied to inanimate objects such as buildings and houses. These structures also want to matter and be taken care of, much like how we desire to matter to others. A well-maintained and loved home can have a positive impact on one’s emotional well-being, while a neglected and rundown building can have the opposite effect.

I see buildings and houses as living, breathing entities, like people. Houses want to matter to someone. Remember a time you walked into a well-tended home, decorated with love and intention? There was a feeling about the place. Houses want owners or occupants to help fix them up, and keep them clean and nice. If no one is tending to a house, walls crack, paint chips and mold grows. These things happen to every house or building. Constant maintenance is required. If you do not do this work on a regular basis the house will eventually become uninhabitable.

A Missed Opportunity

I stayed at a 3-star hotel in Costa Rica for one night recently. The image above was a posting for the hotel on a travel booking site. It looks sort of cute, which is a deception. In fact, my travel companion rated it a .5 on a 5-star scale. The bones of the place were strong. The person who built it created a majestic, beautiful building. However, the people now running the place had let it fall into disrepair. The walkways were cracked. The waterfall pool that fed the big pool was broken and looked like it had been that way for a while.

The room was very sad. Skimpy, mint green curtains were jerry-rigged to the wall with bent metal tabs. The TV was mounted right above my head with all the cords dangling down the wall. The TV falling on my head while sleeping was a good possibility. The beds had no blankets and were covered with polyester sheets. Poly sheets do not work. A body needs cotton sheets so that the sheets stay in place and absorb moisture, not make you sweat. Two beds were shoved in the room with no thought. There was no hot water. No art, lighting, or ambiance.

Indeed, there is nothing wrong with this, only a missed opportunity. If you are in the business of creating space for people to feel welcome, comfortable, and safe, this is not how you do it. The exact room, same walls, same flooring, and curved metal window could have enjoyed table lamps, Costa Rican printed blankets, simple cotton sheets, and locally created art. A standard curtain would have done nicely. Instead, the room felt sad and neglected and I did not feel good staying there.

I wondered who owns, runs, and manages a run-down hotel. Why would they post photos of a lovely place on the internet and then, let the place collapse into ruin? Who are these people? Honestly, I wonder if they have not traveled anywhere or ever stayed in a hotel. Perhaps they do not know what it takes to create a beautiful place for guests. If you grew up in a messy house, you might not know what a clean house looks like. These people must not know.

What are You Putting Up With?

Someone once said, “Our life is as good as the things we put up with.” I was triggered by that statement, and it stuck with me. Why are we putting up with the things in our lives that fall into the “it matters” category? If it matters to you, you need to play a more active role in choosing or creating the right thing. Because staying in cool places (not necessarily expensive) matters to me, I spend time searching for cool places, reading reviews, and combing through the descriptions. Because place matters to me, I have created an Airbnb in my house that is cool, clean, safe, and welcoming. How did I find myself in a run-down .5 star hotel even for one night?

“The universe is always conspiring for my highest good.” I often state. Was this for my highest good? Perhaps. Every once in a while, it is good to see what others put up with. It reminds me why things matter and helps define what matters to me. You may be thinking, “Are you too good to stay in a place like that?” Nope, that is not it. It simply means that because place matters to me, I do not choose run-down or mediocre places for myself. It wasn’t even cheap. This situation helps me know how putting in the extra work to find a good place to stay and spending my money on what matters is very important.

Make Things Matter

Again, nothing matters unless we make it matter. Things want to matter, people, places, and pets. Choose what matters to you, pay attention, and spend your time and money on those things.

In short, what matters is a personal and ever-evolving concept. It’s up to everyone to determine their priorities and to focus on what holds importance to them. This self-awareness can lead to a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in life.

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