One thing I’ve caught myself doing is falling into the materialistic cycle of today. Since I’ve started working at the tower, I recently caught myself falling into the trap of the materialism mentality of the corporate world. Walking in to BOK each day, you see everything from Louis Vuitton purses, brand new mercedes and range rovers, gucci shoes… you name it.
Walking from the tower to lunch, you see a parade of material possessions strutting through downtown. The ladies slipping on their ray bans and designer purses, walking in gorgeous heels, talking about their new range rovers and soprting beautiful diamonds. It’s very hard not to get caught up in the materialism. It makes hard to figure out when it is too much.
Personally, I like nice things. I like to dress well. I like to be in what is trending. That is the way of our society, today. But when is it too much? When do we draw the line?
Personally, I was brought up very poor until about the age of 14. I mean when I was 5 I lived in a trailer with holes in the floor that momma would make a game of jumping over to get to my room. We had NOTHING. Around the age of 14, it was like everyone in my family finally started making money. My mom was finally doing well for herself, my dad’s construction company was taking off finally, my meme moved home from ALabama and took on her CEO position. In third grade I had moved over a handful of times and attended over a handful of schools. They were typically smaller schools. In third grade, we moved to Broken Arrow. Living with a single mother I was fortunate to have everything I needed and up to that point, everything I thought I wanted. Once we got to BA, it was awful. I got made fun of all the time because I didn’t know what Abercrombie & Fitch was or Limited Too, etc. and I definitely didn’t have any clothes from there. We didn’t live in a house in Forest Ridge or belong to a country club, in fact I got made fun of for living in the “ghetto” in a house over by North Intermediate. I was at the bottom of the food chain and all of the mean girls made sure to point that out. However, I am thankful I didn’t have those things. My mom worked her butt off. She joined the military at 17 when I was just a baby and to this day is still in the National Guard. She became a police officer, shortly after moving to BA. She worked countless side and security jobs just to make sure she could pay for food on the table and a roof over my head. Before we moved to BA and she worked in other fields, there were days when she wouldn’t eat lunch so that she could give me money for lunch. To say we scraped by is on point. Looking back, I have so much respect for my momma. She was a single teenage mother, growing up as she was raising a child, she didn’t ask for handouts, instead she worked hard and did whatever she had to do to make ends meet. She wasn’t out partying and having fun every night… she knew she couldn’t… she had a responsibility.
As I got older, in BA schools, I was constantly embarassed. Having to walk to school from the “bad” neighborhood and not having the clothes that were cool. I hated it. Girls are mean and viscious and it was miserable. Once I started working when I was 16 any money I earned, or any birthday/holiday money went to clothes. I had an addiction. I had up to 3 closets full of clothes at one point. I hoarded clothes and it went beyond that. I started this addiction of obsessing over personal perfction. It even got to the point I would starve myself to be skinny and seen as more attractive. After all that time of not having what was in or being made fun of for what I was “lacking,” I decided I’d show them. What I did was start a horrible cycle of retail therapy and a shopping addiction. As I got older, when I was upset, I’d go shopping. When I felt inadequate, I’d go shopping. Every time I’d go out with my friends, I thought I had to have a new outfit because I couldn’t be caught wearing the same thing twice.
I still struggle with it, but I am getting better. I try to frequently go through my clothes and resale &/or donate them. I try to limit my shopping or retail therapy. Working in the corporate world it is hard. It’s hard to know where to draw the line. I like nice things. I work hard and I like to buy nice things for myself but I think there has to be a line of when it is too much. We get so caught up in keeping up with the trends and having to have what everyone else has or wants. Social media is a huge contributor as well. You see the new purse she bought and have to have it. You see the new car he bought and you want a new car. You see people out partying on a boat every weekend and now you want a boat and to live that lifestyle. It’s a never ending cycle.
The biggest issue with our generation is not only the materialistic nature, but it is entitlement. We think we deserve it. Even when we haven’t worked hard to earn it. That is one thing I am thankful to have gotten from my upbringing. I know the value of hard work and it was instilled in me. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty and put in the work.
When I was younger, I remember having to help bottle feed the calves, wrestle the calves with my stepbrother and sister to get them in the pin, go out and hay the cows, cutting down trees and lugging the pieces off. Going to work with my dad and snapping chalk lines or looking througg the view finder to make sure it’s level. Going and sitting in class with my momma while she was taking college courses. She didn’t have a sitter but I knew to be quiet and color or keep myself entertained.
Thinking back to conversations with my great grandpa a few years ago, a lot of things hit home. His generation was focused on looking their best at all times but they weren’t obsessed with material objects. They had so little but were so thankful. More importantly, they valued people and relationships more than anything. Today, that is not the case. One girl is over there obsessing over all of the material things her boyfriend doesn’t buy her or the things she doesn’t have. That guy is over there obsessing over a boat or a truck or whatever toy he has or wants. Physically, we are constantly getting plastic surgery and doing crazy things to perfect ourselves and compete with someone else. We wonder why relationships or even just friemdships aren’t as stable or as strong today. It’s because we focus all of our effort and energy into materialistic things. If we focused just 3/4ths of our efforts and energy into relationships that we do into material things, we would be a much happier society, not just happy on the surface.
The rat race for material possessions and perfection is bad. Not only is it bad, it’s depressing. What happens if you invest all of your time, effort and thoughts into material possessions like clothes, shoes, purses, boats, etc. You are left being seen rich in possessions, but poor in life, poor in love, poor in relationships.
Our society has to start making an effort of being more devoted to bettering our lives and relationships with others rather than being obsessed with things, otherwise we are all going to continue to be miserable and feel unfulfilled. Give back to others, get involved with your community, donate money to good causes, spend more time investing in other people and those relationships… we’d all be much happier for it.