I’ve been “settled” in my new room in Atlanta for a few days and I’ve been questioning why I feel uncomfortable being in my room for long periods of time. There are things I do like about my room. The green walls remind my of a similar shade of my room back in Houston, just less intense. There are two big carpet pieces and one of them has flowers and is super soft. A previous YAV/Dweller also put up a beautiful flower sticker above the bed.
Other than the bed, a large side table/storage box, a wooden dresser, and a lonely chair, I don’t have much. I also don’t need much. The only thing I really would consider a need is a side table lamp because it is inconvenient to walk to my door to turn off the light. In no way is it necessary, but it would make reading more enjoyable since I prefer light from a closer lamp rather than my ceiling fan lamp.
Nevertheless, I have this uncomfortable feeling that my room feels empty. There is a huge space with only this beautiful flower rug. Every time I look at that side of the room, something inside me goes *what can I move to fill the space*? It reminds me of years of playing The Sims and how my Sims would wish for more furniture in their rooms. Their “environment” meter would be low with lack of decoration, furniture, ambiance. Lately, I’ve felt like one of those Sims, frustrated by the emptiness, the lack of *stuff*, but do I need more stuff?
I think I have been influenced by this “Culture of Having Lots of Stuff” in ways that make me feel uncomfortable to acknowledge.
First, because I grew up privileged in a White middle class household, I had (and still have) access to a lot of stuff. I’ve had many birthday parties, Christmas presents, hand-me-downs (The best part of being the youngest! But is it a good thing?), etc. to have access to more stuff. For my last two years of college, I accumulated so much stuff my parents and I had to rent a U-Haul to move everything out. To justify myself, I said, “Well, I did basically supply most kitchen items and living room furniture.” But man, did I have a lot of stuff, and it certainly all wasn’t necessary.
Here is my second thought. In The Sims, I could easily fix my Sims’ complaints that their environment was uncomfortable. I could spend the money they had from working hard at their job to buy furniture. In the game, if you buy expensive items with a high environment level, such as a very nice couch or a fancy paining, it will increase the state of the environment. If your Sim didn’t have enough money, you could always “cheat” the game by entering cheat codes and accumulate wealth without having to work hard. The money could simply be handed to you, and you could buy anything and everything and live in luxury.
In my life, my “cheat” code has always been using my parents’ money. I am not financially independent of them, but this year is a step away from my dependency. Yes, I am on their health insurance and they are paying my phone bill, but I will be living off a very low monthly stipend. I certainly could ask them for money and receive it, but they know they shouldn’t. The main thing I recognize is no matter what, my parents could step in if I was without food or a place to live. I am very grateful for their support and love they share, especially financially, but I recognize that I am so privileged to have access to my very own money cheats.
So, let’s go back to the thought of having stuff. I have more stuff than other people do, and some people have more stuff than me. So what do I miss more, the clutter of my room back in Houston or really just the sentimental items, like my books, pictures, and nick nacks? I rarely used my desk during college, but why do I want one to fill the empty space? Why was packing my suitcase one of the most challenging things I’ve ever had to do in my life?
I suppose this is just one of the challenges I will have this year. The culture I’ve grown up in tells me I should have stuff, that I deserve to have it. I can get more stuff so easily, y’all! I can buy all the things (but I won’t because I should be a responsible adult and I don’t have much money)! But in reality, I don’t deserve anything. I am so blessed by God to have what I have, especially a bed and a roof over my head. Not to mention things like air conditioning, running water, and my own room. It may not be the ideal I’ve grown up with, a room that feels empty, but it is someone else’s ideal. Someone would rejoice over the thought of a room with so much to offer, a room that actually has a lot of stuff!
I hope to think more on what I find to be most valuable.
As a way to feel more comfortable in my room and celebrate what I do have, I hope to decorate the walls with art. I’ll keep you posted on the progress and how it changes my comfort level, or in Sims lingo, my “environment meter.”
Colossians 3:2 is a reminder of how I want to set my mind on things above, not on earthly things. I hope you consider your stuff like me, and I wonder how you feel about your *stuff,* or even lack of stuff.