Consumerism – the insidious plage

I’ve been puttering around my house for a few weeks now, truly enjoying the house-living lifestyle. But I find myself in a continuous state of expectation and frustration: my living room is still rather bare. I have a vision of what I want it to look like, and we’re getting there. But there are still some things lacking. The most obvious is an armchair. We have a sofa – but that’s it. I need drapes for the balcony doors and a blind for the dining room window. I could also use some decorative knick-knack type pieces – because I’m a vowed declutter-er I only keep knick-knacks that have sentimental value or meaning to them. And almost all of these are small. I need some bigger pots and vases to place as accents and fill up the empty shelf and mantle spaces. And then there’s the bedroom, which needs basically an entire suite of furniture…

All these things cost money. Oh sure, I could go to Pier 1 tomorrow and drop a couple grand on stuff if I put it on my credit card. But DH and I have forsaken the buy-now, pay-later way of living. We have resolved to save up and then spend. And I’m getting really impatient.

My mother says “Everybody starts out that way – you fill your house over the years.” True, but she started when she was 26. I’m almost 40 and just starting, and I feel like I have all this catching up to do.

And so I flip through catalogs that come in the mail, and I feel…almost anxious. Impatient. It brings a level of stress to my life, albeit a very small one. Still, it’s there. It nags at me whenever I walk past my bare-ish living room. It haunts me when I see the perfect piece, just what I’d envisioned, and on sale too – but have to say no.

And I think to myself – how freakin’ shallow and materialistic is THIS? I mean really! I’ve got two great healthy kids, a wonderful husband, a lovely car and a wonderful home for our family. My husband is making great coin, we’re saving for the future, and we’re virtually debt-free. And I’m letting the lack of a pretty armchair cause me grief??

And then I get angry at this consumer culture I live in, grew up in, and have been thoroughly brainwashed by. I am victim of the hundreds of home decorating and home improvement shows I’ve seen. Of new condo development show suites, real estate stagers, and those damned flyers that come in the mail. I’ve grown up thinking that having *things* somehow matters, like it will make my life happier. And when I can’t, by sheer force of will and determination, have those things and have them now…I feel frustration and longing.

I hate that I feel I need these things. I hate that I can’t appreciate what I have to the point where what I don’t have doesn’t matter. I don’t know how to fight this stuff, it seems like it is so ingrained in my psyche that I’m barely aware of it most of the time. I need to figure out how to stop wanting so much. If anybody has any suggestions, I’m all ears.

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