chasing the dragon

August 14, 2015

Chasing the Dragon: Are You Addicted to Materialism?

I know what it’s like to be poor.

Schlepping along behind my mom with my two younger siblings at my heels, I was a regular at our small town Goodwill, church thrift stores, and the seasonal smattering of neighborhood yard sales. When my father’s business enjoyed a sporadically profitable period, trips to Value City were a nice change of pace from the hand-me-down standards to which we had become entirely accustomed.

It was a novelty for my child self to possess something that had never been owned by:

  • Some nameless, faceless stranger=Best case scenario.
  • One of the kids at school=Absolute. Worst. Case. Scenario.

Looking back, the discount retailer wasn’t actually much of an improvement, but, at the time, Value City was luxe.  The glowing fluorescent warehouse filled with odds and ends of cheaply made clothes, shoes, and home goods- let’s just say it was a far cry from the modern day Maxxinista boutique that might come to mind…

I remember coming home with clothes with real, department store tags on them and feeling the way I do now when I am lucky enough to enjoy a glass of my favorite red wine or dine at a hot, new restaurant downtown.

Over the years, my parents started to do better; I set out on my own, strived to make my own money, and, today, I, fortunately, consider myself to be financially comfortable. But, at some point, there undoubtedly was a quiet, unnoticeable shifting in what purchases gave me that same feeling of esteem and satisfaction.

Over the years, Value City- a place which I once viewed as the apex of shopping and style- became a place I was embarrassed to be seen in.

When exactly did I start to judge myself -and my family- based upon the clothing we could afford to purchase?

When did my material standards become so high?

When does it end?

I love shopping and buying nice things as much as the next gal (or guy), but, money and happiness are just not one in the same. How can we stop chasing the dragon? Is there a rehab facility that can heal this deeply rooted addiction to materialism and …

Or will we just keep raising the bar?