Monday, August 3, 2009

stuff…

i have a lot swirling though my mind right now. what else is new, right? i’m a thinker. that’s what i do. often, i’m an overthinker, which leads to it’s own troubles. but all too often, i spend too much time thinking, and not enough time doing. such is the life of a thinker, i guess.

the main theme of my thoughts right now is stuff.

i have way too much of it. everyone i know has way too much of it. we complain about our stuff. we don’t know what to do with our stuff. we have garage sales, where we try to make money getting other people to buy our stuff. we pay for storage units to keep the stuff that won’t fit in our houses. we wish for bigger houses, so there would be room for all our stuff. every week, we put an enormous can out on the street, full of the packaging our stuff came in, and pay someone to haul it away in a truck to a landfill full of everyone else’s stuff.

one of my biggest complaints about myself and about my life is that i’m disorganized, my house is always a mess, and i feel overwhelmed and lazy because of it. why is this? sure, i spend too much time thinking, and not enough doing, right? but really, how much time would it take me to tidy up my house and keep it clean if it weren’t for all the stuff? have you ever noticed, when you move out of a place, how much easier it is to clean it when it’s empty? cleaning is a huge pain in the butt because you have to organize, move around, sort through and do something with ALL the stuff first! and then you have to clean. i hate vacuuming. why? not because vacuuming itself is so hard, but because first i have to pick up all the stuff laying around on the floor and put it away. that’s the real chore, not the vacuuming.

i’ve always been one to question the status quo. i look at something that’s considered standard, something most people consider a no-brainer, and i question it. why do we do this? is this the best way? how did people used to do this? does everyone really do it this way? so my question now is, why all the stuff?

i suppose some of this is coming from the fact that shane and i are pretty well immersed in the ‘little house’ books right now. i am continually amazed and impressed by how resourceful they were, how little they had, and really, how happy they were, despite hardships and the hard work involved in everyday living.

i compare that with my own life, with my own family and wonder why we think all this stuff makes for a better life.

as a mom, i am continually confronted with mom-type frustrations. i don’t think i deal with anything out of the ordinary and my other mom friends will attest to the absolute normalcy of the things my kids make me deal with. on an almost daily basis, i struggle with layla about her clothes. no, it’s not a huge deal, but it’s annoying, and i find it disturbing because it’s an excuse for her to be stubborn and rebellious against me… not exactly character traits i’m trying to foster. but the source of this? too many clothes. she has at least 30 pairs of underwear and easily that many pairs of socks. and don’t bother asking about the rest of her closet, it just gets worse. WHY? why does anyone need this many clothes? i do laundry EVERY day, just so it doesn’t pile up. i don’t really need to, obviously, if layla’s wardrobe is any indication, doing laundry monthly could be a feasible possibility!

and then there are shoes. i personally have at least 15 pairs of shoes that i can think of right now. why do i have all these shoes? well, mainly, to go with all my clothes. i mean really, it would be flat out impossible to wear my brown flip flops on a day that i’m wearing a blue shirt. no, i have to have a pair of blue flip flops for that occasion. why is it we feel that it is not only NOT ridiculous, but absolutely necessary to have all this stuff?

my bathroom is full of stuff too. i have 3 drawers in my vanity (don’t even get me started on why we have a piece of furniture in our bathrooms with that name and we’re not offended by it!) that are full of stuff. the bottom drawer has a hair dryer and 3, count ‘em, 3 different curling irons and (ironically enough) a straightener. i have another drawer full of make up and random other lotions and potions, and then a drawer full of hair thingies and other grooming devices. then there’s the basket on the back of the toilet that’s got lotion and deodorant and hairspray and mousse and gel and shaving cream and toothbrushes and toothpaste and toner and moisturizer and goodness knows what else. now i’m certainly not suggesting that anyone quit using deodorant or toothpaste, but really, how much of this stuff do we need? is any of it really making us better people? is it making happier, really? does prolonging a few wrinkles a few more years really contribute to the good of the rest of the world? why are we so self-centered to think that this stuff has any bearing whatsoever on life?

how is it that we’ve become so vain? so greedy? is it just the sheer availability of stuff that makes us think that we should have more of it? is it that we (even those of us who consider ourselves to be relatively poor) are so wealthy that we feel like we have the ability to fill our lives and our homes up with all this stuff? is it just that we are so completely insecure with ourselves that we see other people with more stuff and think that we’re not as good as them unless we have as much or more stuff than they do? or maybe better or more expensive stuff!

and we teach this to our children. every christmas and birthday and any other excuse we can think of, we shower them with more toys and clothes and STUFF. we think we’re showing love to our children by buying them everything their hearts desire. i think we’re really just feeding this cycle of greed. of wastefulness. this addiction to stuff.

and then we complain that they won’t clean their rooms. that all their stuff is in our way.

we all know how to turn this off. we all have the ability and the power to do so. many of us have felt this urge. this feeling that something is very wrong with the way we live.

but who is willing to change?

i might be. i don’t know. i’ll probably have to think about it awhile longer. i’m a thinker. that’s what i do.

2 comments:

  1. I have to agree about the stuff. Being in the military for so long, I was actually pretty good at keeping it toned down when we moved, but in between moves, we accumulated more STUFF. I blame grandparents and aunts and uncles mostly. Its all their fault for buying more stuff.

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  2. Our kids are currently on Toy Probation... only 10 in the house. You'd be surprised at how happy they are playing with only a few toys, then running around outside and making up their own games. Well... maybe you wouldn't. And Luke and I are much happier with how easy it is to keep the living room clean. We're thinking seriously of reinstituting only a small fraction of the toys, and giving away the rest. Now on to the clothes...

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