The other day Scott was studying, I was studying, and I had the tremendous idea to duel it out via Monopoly Deal. For those who have not played this game, it is highly addictive. To make a long story short, I beat Scott five times in a row. I was floating with happiness. I had gotten my fill of competition and could now effectively study. That night while we were going to bed Scott let it slip that he had let me win a few times. Based on his face I knew he wasn't lying, and in a fit of anger I found myself saying in all seriousness, "You wanna play?! Come at me bro!" And that was the moment I realized I needed to be done with Monopoly Deal for a while...
So I started out with that story to give you an idea of my hyper-competition at the moment, but this has gotten to actually be a problem for me. Let me use another story to explain why.
On Saturday I woke up and decided I needed new jeans. I didn't care what they would cost, I'd even go into my students loans to have them if I had to. I told Scott of my huge need and he took a look at my closet, which contains more pairs of jeans than I would like to acknowledge and asked quizzically, "But... Why?" I told him it was a stress relief and would make me feel better. He simply nodded his head and followed me out to the mall. While we were there my eyes peered for all of the right brands. We went to some stores I knew we couldn't afford and I longed for the cute jeans. Knowing Scott absolutely despises "brand slaves" I resisted the urge and decided I would get something a little cheaper. I walked by stores that I used to love because they just "weren't good enough", or "not good enough quality". I couldn't find anything I liked and the guilt of spending so much money was starting to get to me, but it was like there was a voice in my head telling me I couldn't settle for something "cheap". Finally, after all hope seemed to be lost, Scott pulled me into Forever 21 and pointed out that there were jeans for $8. Eight dollhairs! I can't remember the last time I saw jeans for that cheap. I refused. I was not going to try on jeans that only cost 8 dollars. Scott encouraged me, and what do you know I loved them. As I went up to the cash register I remember being embarrassed that the girl putting me through would think less of me. I was embarrassed for saving a buck.
Ever since that event I have been disgusted with myself. When did I become a slave to consumerism? More and more I keep seeing people buying things they can't afford, and have looked back to realize I have fallen into that category. I look at families with one income, and probably just an average one at that, and wonder how these moms and dad's can afford to buy that certain pair of pants, or shop at that store. I see babies in brand name clothes and I think, don't they just poop in that? Now, don't get me wrong, I believe that we should feel good about how we look, but where is the limit? I read a really interesting psychological study that people's minds have evolved to believe that assets=wealth, even if that person has substantial debt. That basically means that even if the person is thousands of dollars in debt, if they have a nice house, nice clothes, and a nice car they're rich.
When my parents were newly married, and my dad was going to school, they had two little girls and both worked. My mother had two jobs, my dad had one job and was a full time student, and everyday would drop their kids off at a daycare to make sure they had enough to live. My parents knew what hard work was, and because of that, many years later, their hard work has paid off to living comfortably. My parents are not wealthy, but they are very comfortable. They don't have a huge house, and when I ask why they don't build their dream house, the simple answer from my mother is that she doesn't need it, nor does she need any kind of debt. (Side note: these are the parents that used to, for family home evening, make me go over everything we had spent money on that month and mark whether it was a want or a need...) I am in awe of that, and when I look at myself all I can wait for is to have my dream house, with my dream husband, and not work for the rest of my life.
So why am I like this? I have two theories:
1.) I have to compete against everyone, even people I love. I have to feel like I look better, richer (even though we all know that's not true), and to hide from them the fact that Scott and I do struggle.
2.) As a generation, we have become obsessed with ourselves. We love ourselves above anyone else, and for that reason have become obsessed with our appearance. Look at every social network, and how often people portray how they really feel. Rather than enjoying my life in privacy, I have to exploit every happy moment just to simply show it off.
With that I've decided that I'm going to be more realistic. I'm going to actually acknowledge my insecurities rather than hide them behind things. I'm going to let Scott dress like a scrub, and I'm going to wear cheap jeans, because in reality the only people that really care about those things is myself, and people who share this similar self-obsession.
Let me just say, I'm grateful Scott has this whole "minimal living" thing figured out.
Anyways, here's a cute picture of Scott, because what's a blog post without a picture?