It's easy in this world of consumer culture to feel like you don't have enough. Clothes, furniture, degrees, savings accounts. Especially when you are married to a medical student with rising debt and a new baby and a sad income. There are 20 year old bloggers who make 3x more a year than my husband will make as a practicing physician. There are the privileged, and the geniuses, and the lucky, and the ambitious and the scrappy people who make it look easy. Who make money look effortless and harmless.
I hate thinking about money because it turns me into someone I don't like. An entitled weasel who either feels pouty or judgmental. Two emotions I despise. So whenever I start to feel like my life of more blessings than I could ever deserve seems lacking, I read this poem by Faith Shearin. And it makes the stuff I think I deserve and I am missing out on appear to be what it really is - - just stuff.
My husband and I stood together in the new mall
which was clean and white and full of possibility.
We were poor so we liked to walk through the stores
since this was like walking through our dreams.
In one we admired coffee makers, blue pottery
bowls, toaster ovens as big as televisions. In another,
we eased into a leather couch and imagined
cocktails in a room overlooking the sea. When we
sniffed scented candles we saw our future faces,
softly lit, over a dinner of pasta and wine. When
we touched thick bathrobes we saw midnight
swims and bathtubs so vast they might be
mistaken for lakes. My husband's glasses hurt
his face and his shoes were full of holes.
There was a space in our living room where
a couch should have been. We longed for
fancy shower curtains, flannel sheets,
shiny silverware, expensive winter coats.
Sometimes, at night, we sat up and made lists.
We pressed our heads together and wrote
our wants all over torn notebook pages.
Nearly everyone we loved was alive and we
were in love but we liked wanting. Nothing
was ever as nice when we brought it home.
The objects in stores looked best in stores.
The stores were possible futures and, young
and poor, we went shopping. It was nice
then: we didn't know we already had everything.