In the land of the uber-materialistic people

I feel like we have traveled to a different country. We are visiting my husband’s family in Atlanta, and I find it hard to believe that I actually lived here once. The people seem so hung up on material things and appearances. I’ve lost count of the number of brand-new cars I’ve seen in less than 24 hours. This morning, the girls and I stopped for a quick haircut, and the lady next to us was freaking out because her hair color job wasn’t just what she wanted. Then there’s the houses, of which a small one is at least 2,500 square feet. My in-law’s house is close to 5,000 square feet. Oh–lest I forget– my mother-in-law’s advice to my daughters that “if they don’t get what they want for Christmas, we can always buy something else.”

What? Is this the same country? When did we leave reality?

Maybe I’m simply tired, or have lived long enough in the purity of our beloved Vermont to see the idiocy and superficiality in such materialism. Or else I’m just achy and bitchy enough to lack the ability to go with the flow when said flow makes no sense to me. It could also be that I have worked with my students long enough to question a mindset in which I do not believe.

Whatever the answer, I much prefer who I am now– flawed, overweight, but genuinely compassionate and grateful for every gift the Universe has bestowed — to any previous iteration. For me, the best gifts of the season have been to give my husband the choice to quit his job when he’s ready (based on my last post), to experience airline travel through my 10-year-old’s eyes, and to connect more deeply with my 12-year old. Nothing else matters more than those precious gifts.

As much as I know that other people are enjoying this trip, I’ll be so glad to get home again, where things make sense. Where I make sense.

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