Monday, November 20, 2006

Keeping up with the Jonses

Yesterday, I wrote How Big does your House need to be. There is another issue in that story that I didn't mention. That issue is Showing Off; more commonly known as Keeping up with the Joneses.

As I watched that episode of House Hunters, it dawned on me that the reason this couple wanted to move was not just because they had alot of "stuff," but also because they felt compelled to Show Off. This came clear to me as I answered the questions that kept running through my head.

What conclusions do you come to when you ask yourself these questions:

  • Why would someone need a house with a formal dining room when they had an eat-in kitchen?

  • Why would you need a formal living room when you have a family room or den?

  • Why aren't members of a family "allowed" to use certain rooms in their houses?

  • Why is it "bad" to have the TV as a focal point in a room?

  • Why must we pay to heat and cool rooms that we aren't allowed to use unless company is in the house?

  • Why do we spend the most money to furnish and decorate rooms that aren't meant for the people we love the most?

  • Why do we feel that making an impression on a friend, co-worker, or relative is more important than our own immediate family?

  • Have we bought so far into advertiser's propaganda that we now believe that our image truly is an indicator of our value?

  • Have we really assimilated that message into our belief systems, and now accept that spending money to impress others is a quest that is worthy of our time, money, and limited energies?

The answer, for me, is easy.

I will not use any of my limited resources in an effort to impress anyone. My value lies, simply and automatically, in being alive.

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