Friday, March 10, 2006

Material girl

There was a time in my life when I scorned stuff. I was anti-acquisition, anti-materialism, and would prevent myself from accumulating a lot of things by periodically imagining myself in a big, open meadow surrounded by all of my possesesions. The image was frequently so ridiculous-- I'd be surrounded by so much crap in this otherwise empty space that I'd make frequent purges to get rid of extraneous items.

Flash forward about 15 years and I'm a woman with a full house. I'm really a grown-up now. I know I've expressed my shock at this fact in other contexts before, but it still hits me sometimes. I'm REALLY a grown-up. I'm in my mid-30's. I have children. I'm married. I have a mortgage. And my closets and rooms are packed to the gills with stuff.

As you regular readers of my blog will already know, Husband's father passed away about a month and a half ago. Husband has been packing up his house in Atlanta every weekend since then, and has kept quite a lot of his parents things. Some of the furniture has gone into storage because my dear spouse is a sentimental guy and can't bear to part with even those things we can't actually use right now--a full-sized walnut dining table and, like, 8 chairs, a huge room divider shelf thingy, some other stuff. But a lot of it made it to our house in NC this past weekend, and suddenly our house looks like...well, like I said, a real grown-up house. The furniture is much nicer than anything we've had before. It's just lovely. I was afraid it would end up looking just like Husband's parents' house around here, but it doesn't. It's our same comfortable house with pretty stuff in it.

I still feel a little weird about all this, though, a little nervous about having nice things. 'Cause you know what? I'm secretly very pleased that our house is so full of good furniture. I'm discovering that I'm actually quite the luxury lover now that I'm no longer in my 20's. Sure, I still enjoy a satisfying purge of the closets and messy drawers now and then, but otherwise I'm enjoying being surrounded by beautiful things. Perhaps a little too much.

What in the hell happened to my previously idealist, anti-materialism self?! I used to be a carousing, commie, bohemian princess, but I now seem to be living in the body of a middle-class matron!

14 comments:

Bobita said...

At the last paragraph...I was laughing out loud! I sooo get what you mean!

From one mid-30, once-bohemian, hesitant grown up to another...oh come on, you can still be an idealist...you'll just be one who has nice furniture!

Mommygoth said...

Darling - you always loved "things" - just not the same ones. Even back in your hedonistic heyday, you collected vintage dresses like other people collect china. Maybe the thing that you're wrestling with is that some of the "things" you've ended up with are a bit more traditional?

Now, that's SO not to say you're a yuppie, or a matron, or even that different from how you used to be. Even with fancy furniture in your house you still have that bizarre bird/motorcycle thing, and your tin collection in the kitchen and all your pretty shells and branches and old window framings. This is what your life looks like with a little money in your pocket - but it's still beautiful, eccentric, and YOU.

Erin said...

I have to laugh. You sound so much like me, it's not funny!

Amber said...

1. I'm REALLY a grown-up. I'm in my mid-30's. I have children. I'm married. I have a mortgage. And my closets and rooms are packed to the gills with stuff.

Ditto
and
2. bizarre bird/motorcycle thing

I need a picture. :)

Dawn said...

We got tired of drinking the Boones Farm wine, especially after we realized that there was much better stuff out there.

Like the year I wore only Converse Chucks? And my now boxes of neatly labeled shoes while I mock the non-natural fiber shoe wearing fools in my office.....

You're still idealistic, you just know the pleasure of comfort too.

Mama D said...

Hey, you didn't buy the furniture, you inherited it. That's not being materialist. So there. Enjoy it. Enjoy nice things. They are nice. It's nice to have nice things. You are still a bohemian princess. Just a tamer version.

HolyMama! said...

you're just appreciating the blessings. appreciating the fine workmanship and quality and beauty. (sounds pretty good like that, huh?)

Sugarmama said...

Um, mommygoth? This stuff ain't Ethan Allen or Broyhill or something. I'm most decidedly NOT wrestling with feeling too traditional in tone. The reminder of my vintage dresses does make me realize, though, that antique furniture has the same appeal to me that the dresses did--a feeling of history and wondering who used it/wore it before me. In short, an intriguing and comfortable feeling of things having SOUL.

No, the wrestling really is with feeling like I have a lot of stuff. It's just weird to be here, remembering so vividly where I was once, y'know?

The Daring One said...

It's amazing how we change as we grow. I am so the comfortable home-body mom that I never thought I'd be. I really enjoyed this post.

Lisa V said...

Bert and I both used to be more out there. We still are inside-but outwordly we look like republicans til we open our mouths.

Mommygoth said...

Hey, Sugarmama! I didn't mean your furniture itself was traditional, just that it was kind of a traditional thing to acquire, unlike, say, vintage dresses. Also, laughing because all that furniture I went out and bought when we bought this house? Broyhill. Ha hahahahahahha - I'm traditional! :-> Hope to see you tomorrow (whoops, I guess that's today in five minutes)

Laura said...

Oh, I hear you! We bought a new house, we bought some new furniture for the first time, I can afford to buy my children and self new clothes, and I am just melting with daily guilt, knowing Thoreau is rolling in his grave over my decadence.

Moonface said...

It's funny how we have this image of ourselves, and then in a few years all that changes quite dramatically. I think the materislist thing is just starting for me.

Suzanne said...

I'm in the same boat -- how did I get to this reasonably well-furnished point, and does it mean I've sold my soul to the consumer devils?