From Shopping Malls to Nature Trails by Cheyenne Dawso

IMG_1802I come from a town where overdressing is a must, brand names are a requirement, and shopping is always on the agenda, hence why the average American spends over $1700 on clothing a year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2015). No wonder why I became so materialistic and obsessive of ‘stuff.’ I wanted what everyone else in my town had. Can you blame me?

We didn’t have the money to afford ourselves these luxuries and most don’t either, but like to pretend. However, we dreamed for that day to come. Truth is, it will never come for me, mostly due to the fact that I don’t want it to come. Don’t we all think, “Sure, it would be nice to be rich and not have to work and be able to afford whatever we want.” Well, I don’t want that. I know some of you are questioning me,but some of the people that want this life or have this life, are some of the most judgmental and unhappy people I have ever seen.

Nothing will satisfy this group of people; there is always more to be had. I am not saying they’re all bad; heck, speaking from experience,  I used to be one of them. In fact, society has tried to make us all this way. Hint, hint — marketing, media, and advertising. Those are the really ugly guys. They have even convinced us to shop for clothing and shoes for almost 150 hours a year (NY Daily News, 2011). That’s sickening. That is over six days more that we could be spending with our families. If we could combine this time, it would probably be more than most people get vacation time.

So, if I don’t value clothing, ‘stuff’ or rich luxuries, what do I value? I value a life full of rich love with the people in it and the nature around me. I have learned to replace the time spent combing through sales racks with driving through the countryside with the windows down and the radio off. This happens to be my husband and I’s favorite thing to do on Sundays. If you haven’t driven up to Jackson County Iowa, you’re missing out!

Time is the real value, not money. Switch the things we love with the people we love. I must remind you though, sitting next to a person you love while texting is not spending time with them. Have a conversation, laugh, or even cry. Your bonds will grow stronger and you will feel more connected to those around you.

Replace your longings and wants with adventures and love! You will not be able to look at a shirt 10 years from now and remember all the places you wore it. You will, however, be able to look at the people you cherish the most and remember the smallest details about your encounters. So, make time for those and less time for shopping and unimportant ‘things.’

Oh, and on most days overdressing and name brands have been replaces with the same pair of leggings, an oversized sweatshirt, and no makeup. I couldn’t be happier.

Please share what you value most. And I will be writing about why you should stay far away from the sales racks, so please keep reading!

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