Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Pearls of wisdom

Pearls of wisdom can turn up in the strangest of places, when you least expect them.

About this time last year, I was at the Cherry Hill Mall on the lookout for the perfect outfits for my family to wear on an upcoming trip back to the midwest for my youngest brother's wedding.  As was routine for me before every trip back to my place of origin, I was pissing away tons of money, trying to prove to myself I was worthy as a person by buying fancy clothes that would end up in the back of my closet after the trip was over.   I was trudging to my car under the weight of multiple shopping bags, when I heard a catty voice sneer directly behind my head.
"Ohmigawd, look at her hair, it's all ratty!!"
The voice was almost in my ear, it was so close.  She could only be talking about me.
I moved quickly away to the other side of the corridor, and leaned against a wall, hoping to head off the breakdown boiling inside me.  It was then that I had a revelation:

"Why am I emulating the values of PEOPLE WHO SUCK???"

Why?  Why am I trying to "fit in" to a world with seriously fucked up priorities?

At that point, I wasn't ready to think on this further, so I pushed it to the back of my mind, but it quietly steeped there.  Over the past year I have become increasingly disenchanted with our "buy stuff, new stuff, better stuff, ALL THE TIME" culture.  I think about what I want my son to value.  A couple weeks ago, I found a news story about a blogger who buys nothing new.  I've decided to give it a shot, with a few exceptions. (Used underwear.  Nuff said!!!)  I also made it my mission to try my best to slash the grocery budget while still feeding us relatively healthy meals.

Yesterday, I was walking home with my son, when we saw a well dressed older man walking our way.  As we were about to pass him, he said:

"Seek contentment in what you have"

You know all those movies where Morgan Freeman plays the voice of God?  And he says something super insightful?  It was like a light bulb went on above my head.

Contentment in what I have.

"God bless you" he said.  "You too", I said.   Despite the fact that we follow different religious traditions, what he said rings true.  You can't take a Wii or a fancy car or a Chanel bag with you to the afterlife.  Material things are no substitute for a loving family.  Not to mention that if 12 year old me saw the living environment of 34 year old me, her jaw would drop in awe of the comparative luxury I live in.

Words to live by, from a random passerby.  Amazing what the world brings us, when we least expect it.