Have you ever been on the outside of an inside joke? You sit there… wondering what in the world people are laughing at. It’s like people are speaking a language foreign to you—guess you had to be there to get it.
I often feel like this when it comes to consumerism. Bigger, better, and more surround me—and I feel like I’m not getting it.
My mid-30s have quickly crept up, and with this stage of life, I find myself surrounded by people “moving up.” Bigger homes, better cars, more trips, better stuff. Influencers. Meanwhile, I sit here, feeling strangely content. On the outside of the inside joke, wondering what the allure is.
Many of my clothes are old—like… I won’t share with you how old. When I need something new, I look for the best deal or go thrift. I just don’t care to have the best. I wear things until they wear out, and I’m not interested in keeping up with trends (and it shows, I am aware!) Could I spend more and put more effort into my wardrobe? Definitely—but I’m content.
Our home is our first home. Many would call it a “starter home,” but it’s our forever. We see no reason to move, we love it here. We love our neighborhood, the old charm of our 60s build that needs continual upkeep, the neighbors who know our kids’ and even our dog’s name. Our neighborhood is not perfectly manicured, nor is our yard. The sidewalks need some work, and there is no grand entrance or elaborate sign when you pull in. Could we move? Yes—but we are content.
We have never owned a new car, nor will we ever. This is a choice. We drive our cars until they can be driven no more. Since having our second, my husband has asked me many times if I feel like I need more room in the car for all the things. I love my old car. Would automatic doors be nice? Sure. Would more room be nice? Of course. But my car gets me from point A to point B, and I love it. So the answer continues to be no—I’m content.
I don’t really know where this feeling comes from. I just feel like there are so many things to care about in this world, and my energy runs out before I can care about appearance (again, I am aware this shows, but Mama don’t care). Consumerism is a hamster wheel that never ends—there will always be bigger, better, and more. I just don’t care to step onto it.
My new challenge is passing this onto my kids. How do I teach my kids to stay focused on the things that actually matter in the world. I vividly remember being in middle school and wanting all the Abercrombie and Fitch things and I’m positive my parents rolled their eyes. I know I will go through this with my own kids. I just hope I can model, as my parents did, what contentment looks like, and the peace it brings when you are truly happy with what you have.
If materialism and consumerism is an inside joke, I am definitely on the outside—and I’m OK with that.