Wednesday, September 8, 2010

To not be normal....

Look at this quote from Ellen Goodman, Pulitzer Prize winning author and journalist:

"Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for -  in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it"  –Ellen Goodman

The real question is how does one get off this merry-go-round?  We live in a consumer-driven world.  We are constantly conditioned to buy own things.  We are brought up to compare our lives and our things with what everyone else seems to have.  It is the "grass is always greener" attitude, so we want and we acquire and then what?

 I remember when we moved here, we had to downsize to a house and income about half of what we were used to.  It seemed like a daunting task at the time.  I still have things in the garage that I couldn't bear to part with, but they haven't moved out of the garage in more than four years.  Oh, don't get me wrong.  There are many times when someone asked where such-and-such is and the reply is "I don't think it made the move",  but for all the things that didn't move, that we've noticed we don't have, there are so many things that we haven't thought of once. 

At what age does this consumerism take over?  How guilty are McDonalds Happy Meals and advertisements in cartoons, and how guilty are we as parents?  Why is it the kids often like the big cardboard box so much better than the pricey item that came in it?  Why can't we see that in our kids? Instead we keep striving to buy them the "hot" toy.  I know the theory is that every generation wants their kids to have a better life than they had, but does that necessarily mean more a more expensive life?

Some days I wish I could just stop. I'm doing what I can.  I'm slowly paying down on debt that piled up from habit and conditioning and who knows where.  I'm trying to consider my "need" before I purchase stuff, not that that stops me from buying fabric on sale.  The biggest change is that I am truly appreciating the things I love.  I try to put as much energy, time, and yes, even money, into the things that are most important, and those things are not really things at all.  They are my family, my friends, and my pets. 

 If you aren't sure what unconditional love is, hang out with a dog, or a toddler for an afternoon.  Your attention is what's important to them and they will reward you ten times over. someday, not be normal.

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