An Age of Innocence: When I was Young and Poor and the Happiest I have Ever Been

Yesterday I was in heaven.  My son and I went to a thrift store and picked up some new things for the kitchen and a few shirts.  Later I had the house to myself and was able to clean and organize the kitchen for hours.  To create a beautiful space to cook and live in.

Something happened as we got older, and climbed the corporate ladder.  We lost an innocence we had when we got married.  As our incomes grew we wanted newer things.  Shinier toys.  The more we could afford, the less we valued what we had.

When we got married, and had our first child we were happy when our family pitched in to buy us paneling for the living room.  It just magically showed up, and they put it up for us.  We were ecstatic.  We had no idea of how much it cost or the preparation that went into decorating our home.

I was able to buy a few nick knacks at a thrift store for decoration.  There was literally only a few, but it was my first home and they were my prized possessions.

I remember dusting them with such care.  I couldn’t afford to replace them.  They were like precious china to me.  I spent hours re-arranging furniture and decor to make our home comfortable and appealing.

As the years went by our income increased, and as it did we began to desire newer things.  Big t.v.’s, new furniture and the toys that came with the American dream.

Yesterday, as I cleaned the kitchen and displayed my thrift store finds I realized I had lost something over the years.  I lost my innocence.  I lost an appreciation for simple things, and have not appreciated all that we have.  My younger self would be appalled at how I take for granted all the things we have now.

As I face mid-life I see how we got caught up in the materialism of the world.  We have paid for it with high debt and a large mortgage.  The busyness of climbing the corporate ladder, and raising four children distracted us, and we lost a part of who we are.

I am looking forward to a new chapter in our life.  A chapter where we go back to a life without kids.  Where life is simpler, and where we appreciate and value everything we have, and no longer chase the materialism dragon.

The hunt begins.  Oh how I look forward to sewing curtains again, and hunting for nick knacks to fit the theme of my room.  Oh how I look forward to re-capturing some of the innocence we lost when we escaped our youthful poverty and exchanged it for the chains of the American dream.

Marcy Pedersen

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