Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Super-sized lives?

I've got to step out onto my rant platform for a minute, k? My mind has been reeling ever since I watched some random show while getting the baby to sleep, and I am not going to be able to let it go until I fuss and fume about it a bit, so bear with me.


Why on earth is America (as a whole, yes, I'm making a sweeping generalization here, sorry...) so OBSESSED with super-sized lifestyles??? What is going on, people??? What on God's green earth would possess someone to spend a million dollars decorating their FOYER (and yes, I pronounce it FOY-er, not foy-AY, so call me uncultured, I could care less) and in doing so obscure and totally wreck a perfectly gorgeous view of God's creation??

People, people, people....why, oh WHY does a family of three or four "need" a 4,500 square foot house???? Better yet, as I glance through Pete's "bathroom reading", I find a house that someone is making incredibly high-tech that is a whopping sixteen-THOUSAND square feet. WHY???

I just don't get it. Quite honestly, if you're a regular HGTV or DIYNetwork watcher, you might get the impression that it's the norm to own a 3, 4, or 5,000 square-foot house and have some strange need to incorporate massive quantities of fine natural materials into your decor (which, of course, MUST be designed by someone properly trained in the art of color matching and couch-picking). There's just way too much of this need-for-excess being pushed no matter where you look. And in a recession, no less, so of COURSE those of us who can't afford to spend $45,000 to redo our kitchen because we simply cannot stand another day of laminate countertops feel like we're just...oh, I dunno, CHEAP?

Nope. Not here. There is amazing freedom in saying I don't CARE if my resale value is increased tenfold, I just don't feel the need for fill-in-the-blank. And here's where the sweeping generalization ends...because I know there are many, MANY people who feel the same way--and that number seems to be growing--and who are more interested in simplification and enjoying the smaller, more meaningful things of life rather than indulging in excess.

For now, I will laugh maniacally at the ridiculousness of seeing someone boast that he spent $220,000 on a chandelier for his foyer. What other reaction can there be? Am I supposed to be impressed? To tell you the truth, the older I get, the more impressed I get with frugality and resourcefulness than in luxurious displays of "wealth". I guess I've grown jaded. Too many times I've witnessed YOUNG (and by young, I mean VERY young....barely squeaking into their 20's) couples struggling to make ends meet but yet somehow feeling the need to walk around with high-end toys. It boggles the mind. The sense of entitlement in people today is just crazy. And the idea that we somehow "need" the best of the best is just as laughable.

When we were in Germany, we did the typical touristy thing and visited "the" castle--King Ludwig's Neuschwanstein in Fussen, which is the castle that Disney modeled Cinderella's castle on. Thing was, this rather young ruler was obsessed with opulence. Gold-gilded walls, beds, was just ridiculous. It was easy to point out the craziness in that, but to come back to modern-day America where so many "average" people are now just as obsessed with it? An 18-inch-thick "floor" of water for guests to be greeted by? Monet-inspired paintings on your tile? Fiber-optic color-changing water walls? If I want to walk on water, I'll go outside and skip in the puddles with my kids. My fridge is covered with paintings that are far more valuable to me than a Monet anyday...and a wall of water? Gimme a break.

**Stepping back down off of my rant-box.**

I like being able to put my feet up on my furniture. I don't mind my kids playing with paint on our dining room table...and you know what? I'm beyond happy with my $35 sets of Wal-Mart Better Homes and Gardens dishes. I think they're purdy, and I don't care what anyone else says. So there!


Sheri said...

I enjoy "beauty" and "opulence" just like most-but and here is the catch-BUT, talk about a waste of one's money-spend it on things that really count-like paying for a well for a whole town in a drought ridden country in Africa. Or instead of spending $50 K on a bathroom renovation-try spending $5 and give the rest to worth while organizations that care for those in need. Yes-we are a country of "bigger is better, more is better" and it is a sham. I agree Kris-totally. After visiting Vanderbuilt's estate (which was built as a summer home) in Ashville, NC-yes, I can say it is ridiculous! I say foy-ER too. Let it be said that not all of us who live in homes that are bigger or a bit snappier fall into the "extreme" category...cuz we don't. And I know you were generalizing, not saying "all", because I know for us-our current home is a blessing we received from the Lord, something we worked up to...but with TV shows and those "professional" out there-it creates this allusion that that is what must be to be considered one who has truly arrived-and that is so not true. Too many fall victim to that thought. It parallels the PS vs HS positions-that you have to have the $25000 gym for the kids, or the $15000 computer lab for the kids to succeed-when we both know you can have a child graduate from having been educated on an extremely thin budget, who is better prepared and qualified than the majority of those kids who attended prep schools, fancy PS and such. And as Christians-we know it is not the amount of money you make, or how "successful" you come across to the world-but how rich you are in Christ, and how your actions and love succeed in making a real difference in this fallen world.

You are welcome to stop by anytime and enjoy some goodies off of my totally mismatched and chipped plates anytime-bring one of those purdy ones from Wally World-I may have to get some for myself! LOL

Blessings dear soap box pal-blessings

Kris said...

I understand wholeheartedly, Sheri, that not everybody who lives in the larger-or-more-snazzy-than-"normal" homes fall into the extreme category. We personally have a great deal of friends who live in those homes. Some of them are more interested in keeping up appearances than others. It just seems ridiculous, that thought that big and better are necessary, KWIM?

To go by the "norm" of having a bedroom for every child (which, up till five years ago, we did), right now we'd have to have a seven-bedroom house. Interestingly, the four little ones who share a room aren't nearly obsessed with "MINE" in regard to personal space as the ones who have always had it...but that's another post altogether, isn't it?

Stephani said...

Amen Kris! I'm all about simplification these days. It's a process, but I'm getting there. I was raised in a well-to-do home, but having less money than what I grew up with, and wanting to enjoy a debt free lifestyle, I live in a 1000 sq foot home built in 1948. We are in the midst of a remodel job that will make it a nice little cottage, but I agree whole heartedly with what you are saying. We have a dream to live in the country someday and have some land, but until that time comes, we are perfectly content. That contentment comes from our relationship with the Lord. Things never satisfy. I agree with what you said about putting your feet on the furniture. A house is meant to be lived in. Being in the middle of a house remodel, the workers (mainly my husband) have dragged in mud and it has been a bit trying. I do prefer carpet without mud stains! But so be it. Maybe I'll have to get new carpet, or maybe I'll have to tear up the carpet and enjoy the original wood floors, or maybe I'll have to throw rugs over the stains (like I did today) until the remodel is done and I can actually do soemthing about it! I want my life to be about the Lord and the people he has placed in my life, not things. I want the money he has given to me to use while I'm here, to be used according to his purposes. Anyway, thanks for sharing. Now go kick up your feet and relax!

Qtpies7 said...

You go girl!!!!
I love my big house, but it isn't opulent, it isn't even clean half the time, lol. I am not spending big money to make it look perdy and then my 6 kids at home and their two enormous mutts and the cat trash it all. When they are all gone, there will be a FRUGAL prettiness to it, I'm sure yard sale finds from people going from gorgeous to opulent, lol.

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