I am sick of being so bad with my money. I am tired of being the epitome of the cliche “living paycheck-to-paycheck”, of never being able to take a “real” vacation . . . I dream of someday being able to buy an $80 swimsuit from Lands’ End no matter which pay period it is. I would love it if I didn’t have to plan ahead for every unexpected expense, if I could always feel like I still had “enough” no matter how many days it us until payday?
At the same time, however, I’m disgusted by my, for lake of a better term, “American-ness”. I hear a conversation about the causes of poverty, and wonder why we don’t ask ourselves, “What are the causes of material wealth?” I want to have less STUFF; I want to live my life being constantly aware of the fact that, as the Michael Card song says, “we rob our brothers by all that we own”. Every useless tchotchke in my house, every item that I’ve purchased and long since abandoned to Goodwill or clogged up the landfills with, robs those who don’t have a fraction of what I have access to.
I dream of taking a cruise, of having a week for luxury and relaxation and towels shaped like swans and WAY too much food . . . but at the same time, I ask myself how I could possibly live in such luxury, and how I could travel to places where the extremes of poverty are likely to be just out of sight of this blatant, almost unforgivable extravagance.
The hell that is my life with Sallie Mae aside, I tell myself that I would gladly leave the US and go somewhere that I could be relatively free of the trappings of capitalism . . . but all of that is only lip service. I have been raised in the US-ian culture and, for better or for worse, it has put this unrelenting longing for “stuff” into the depths of my being.
And so, I spend hours perusing catalogs, looking at vacation spots online, and wandering the stores looking for a bargain. I dream of getting a new(er) car, and yet prepare myself for the inevitability of spending some time on the bus. I feel myself torn between two conflicting desires, the desire to possess, and the desire to break free. And yet, I am standing in a no-man’s-land, incapable of achieving either goal, choked by my possessions but left being hungry for more.
I wish I knew the way out of this. I wish I could break free. But for now, I am here, having way too much, yet not enough.