I really don't care for stuff.
And by stuff, I mean stuff.
I will never get it. Ever. Our culture's quest for more.
Before "more" meant better. Better designs. Better research. Better systems. Better lives.
Now it simply means more.
I drive around my neighborhood where half the homes have either been in foreclosure or headed that way, and people have so much stuff they can't even park in their garages.
My son even gets it.
When he was 4, we were driving around our neighborhood at Halloween. People had decorated their homes beyond imagine. Haunted houses, graveyards- it was fun to see. When he asked why we didn't decorate like that, I said we did decorate, but not to that extent. It was expensive and we chose to spend our money on other things.
"Like my college fund?"
"Yes, Skip. That's exactly right. Like your college fund."
I was a little scared that I had sucked all the fun out of his childhood.
Until the next year.
We were driving around and we noticed that the same house that had caught his attention was in foreclosure. Another one. I quietly said to my husband "Look, another foreclosure." We both sighed. From the back seat I heard...
"Well, I guess they shouldn't have spent their money on Halloween decorations!"
I know that many people have lost jobs, lost incomes, etc., and I appreciate that. Truly. But in this case, you know, he was probably right.
When did we become a culture where a smart phone became a necessity? When did having the latest and the biggest and the best outweigh simply having enough?
Vacations are luxuries.
Manicures are special treats.
iPad's are lovely, but not vital.
I fear we have become a culture of materialistic gluttony rather than simply having enough.
You need 2 sets of sheets, not 5. Your kids don't need so many toys that you can't contain them. You don't need 75 pairs of shoes. EVER.
Don't get me wrong, I like nice things. I sew. I know there's a difference between well made clothes and crap. I prefer wearing a well made pair of shoes to Payless glued faux leather one. My Henckel knife is wonderful to use. I prefer the Ritz-Carlton to the Super 8.
But honestly, I don't need any of it.
Especially things like jewelry.
One of my friends got engaged and was showing off her ring. It was very pretty. In fact, that's what I said. Apparently, from the look on her face, I should have made more of a fuss.
So, what I said was, sensing her disappointment, was "Yes, it's a very pretty, shiny rock."
She rolled her eyes as if I didn't "get" it.
I got it.
It was, in fact, a very, pretty, shiny rock. It came from very far away. Someone probably risked his or her life to get it. Some poor miner who was simply trying to feed his family, took a risk so she could wear a shiny rock on her finger.
What is was not, however, was a representation of his love for her. Just because her shiny rock is bigger than my shiny rock does not mean that her husband loves her any more than my husband loves me.
It meant his family had more money and gave it to him to buy her a big, shiny rock because she likes big, shiny things and would have complained relentlessly if he had not gotten her the exact big, shiny rock that she wanted.
Yea, that's love baby.
Congratulations on your big, shiny rock.
When we bought our house, the realtor said "You know, you can afford the bigger model." No, we couldn't. We qualified for the bigger model, but it would have cut down on our extra money to travel or to save. Plus, we didn't need the bigger model. We don't even need what we have now.
We have enough.
We are not stuff people.
I don't need the latest gadget to look cool. I don't care about being cool in the least. I left junior high a long, long time ago.
I think it's much more important who I am versus what I have.
I had hoped that after the recession people had learned to value and appreciate what they have. That staying home and playing cards made just as many family memories as expensive trips and ridiculous, over the top birthday parties.
It doesn't seem to be that way.
I think the opposite happened.
People seem angry. As if something was taken away from them. They deserve bikini waxes, manicures, vacations, BMW's, $4 coffees- huh?
I don't think I do.
I am privileged to have a career that I love, doing something I believe.
I am thankful that I met my husband.
I am blessed and grateful that I have 2 healthy, intelligent, funny children.
I am happy that I live in a country with so many freedoms.
I am fortunate to be healthy.
Quite simply, I have enough. And then some. And you can't buy any of it on QVC.