Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Ramblings

The other day I made a statement that I’m sure offended the person I was talking to, and I can definitely understand why that would have been. The words came out of my mouth with a venomous tone, but the negativity was not directed at the person I was speaking to. My discontent stemmed from my general feelings about materialism and society’s tendency to give value to certain things as status symbols. I try not to be judgmental. People are free to make their own choices as to what they like and what they don’t like. But, I suppose there are times when I feel like there aren’t very good reasons behind why people choose the things they surround themselves with.

I know that I am not what most people would consider a “cool” or “trendy” person. People don’t envy me, or pass me on the street and think ‘That woman has it together.’ I don’t care about things like that. I don’t have any desire to impress people, or portray a certain image based on the clothes I wear or the car I drive. In fact, I would go out of my way not to purchase or use certain brand names because of the impression I feel they give.

Now, I’m not trying to be all self-righteous here. It’s not that I don’t like nice things, or things that are aesthetically pleasing. I am certainly willing to spend a little extra money on items that work better or that are made better and longer lasting. I am not above buying something just because I think it is beautiful. But, I try to make good decisions. I try to be a wise consumer and support companies and businesses that have good service and business practices. Above all, I want to set a positive example for my children.

Children are marketing targets at such an early age these days. I can see how easy it is for them to be swept up in the appeal of shiny new toys and clothes that promise happiness and popularity. But, things don’t provide true happiness. True happiness comes from love, relationships, experiences, and God. I look around me and see greed, want, and excess everywhere. I see people falling into a trap of trying to fill up empty holes in their lives with material things; maybe because they don’t know any better. I feel sad for those people, for what they might be missing in their lives. And, I don’t want my children to experience life this way. I want them to feel value and worth for who they are as people, and for what they contribute to the world around them. I want them to see the value and the worth in others for the same reasons.

One of my favorite songs is “Gone” by Jack Johnson. It’s simple, but it seems like there are lots of people out there who aren’t listening.

“Look at all those fancy clothes, But these could keep us warm just like those. And, what about your soul is it cold? Is it straight from the mold and ready to be sold?”

Again, I'm not trying to judge. The choices a person makes are solely their own. I know that I am far from perfect. But, I just want to live in a world where people place value where it should be placed. I wish nothing but true happiness on everyone in the world, as cheesy and idealistic as that may sound. And, since I've never found true happiness in material things, I assume that's not where we should be looking.