Does Material Wealth Define You?

A couple of weeks ago on a 'currently' post (here), I touched on my struggle with materialism, it was so well received and so many of you were able to relate that it has inspired me to share my feelings on materialism a bit more in depth. 

I have always been mindful of material possessions. Growing up my family did not have a lot of money, but we got by. We never went hungry, we had a warm dry place to lay our head at night and clothes on our backs. We actually grew up way out in the country, in an old farm house and although we didn't have a farm we did raise chickens every summer and had outdoor pet rabbits, a dog and cats. Although I complained as a teenager about how far away from town we were (it was a little crazy, 30 minutes from the nearest grocery store), I loved my childhood. We spent a lot of time outdoors; playing with baby kittens in the barn loft, riding bikes up and down our red dirt driveway and digging snow forts into snow banks that piled well over our heads. My childhood really was magical.
As soon as I turned 15, living in the country was not an option anymore, I wanted to move to the city and as soon as possible. When I graduated from University and the opportunity arose to settle in a modest sized city I happily obliged. Fast forward to the birth of our sweet baby girl, thing's have changed (obviously) but more importantly my priorities have changed. I choose to work the amount of hours I do, I work a nice .42 (about two shifts a week), I work two weekends a month, leaving me with only 4 shifts during the week a month. I do this not because of my husbands profession but because I feel that time spent with Scarlett is much more important than the added income we would have if I worked full time. I tell myself this, that I don't need to work more, that we don't need more but this is where I get sucked into the world of materialism...

It started with blogging. I feel that we all show the best of our lives on our respective space of the internet, it's not just in the blogging community but social media in general. I saw an article floating around social media recently that describes it perfectly, you can find it here. This post in particular discusses the Instagram platform and how we display the most 'important parts' of our lives, aka the fabricated ideal versions of ourselves. Now I will be the first to admit, I have stopped my family from eating a meal just to get that perfect shot of the one healthy meal I cooked that week (I wish I was exaggerating here). What I don't show is the piles of folded clean laundry in the laundry baskets around the house that stay in there until I need the baskets to wash the next round of dirty laundry, or the layer of food remnants around Scarlett's high chair from days of 'spot cleaning'... and lets not even talk about what the inside of my vehicle looks like (a toddler snack graveyard), I'm actually incredibly embarrassed about that one. 
I am guilty of this, but for some reason I still look at others and think they have so much more. I compare my life with theirs. Their lives, blogs, fashion sense and Pinterest worthy homes look perfect, and you know maybe they really do have it all together but there's a tiny voice inside of myself telling me that they don't. Then I sit here and think, why does it matter? 'Things' and material possessions, they don't define me. Why am I comparing myself to people whom I don't even really know?

Then I start to think about what's really important to me and I realize I am already living the life I want to be living. What's important to me? Life experiences, traveling, spending quality time with my family and friends. I want Scarlett to grow up knowing that experiences and people are more important than material possessions. I want her to spend time in nature, appreciate the Ocean and have a love and respect for animals. Working a .42 may not allow us to have a large extravagant Pinterest worthy home or the latest Tory Burch bag but it does allow me to be present in my baby girl's life and I wouldn't trade that for all of the things in this world. 

I never want to have regrets and I always tell myself this; When I look back on my daughter's life I will not regret the 'things' we did not have but I would regret choosing 'things' over spending time with her. It will always be a struggle for me, the difference between a want and a need. 
It's funny because when I picture my ideal life now, I don't picture a big extravagant home. I picture an old farm house, fixed up with a lot of personal TLC. Lot's of pets, a vegetable garden, making homemade wine in my kitchen and swinging on a hammock between two trees in my backyard. It's the simple things that really mean the most now, the little things that provide a sense of family and comfort that make me the happiest. 
Do you struggle with your own material wealth? Are you guilty of posting only the best of your life? I would love to hear how some of you are feeling about this topic! 

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