Back when I was a child in the 1970s, I enjoyed playing with the typical toys of that time, my View Master, Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, my beloved Mrs. Beasley, the Fisher Price Little People, and the Little Professor Calculator. Hours were spent being entertained in front of a black & white television with 13 channels to choose from. In addition, I had a home, my health, my family, my dog, and friends to play outside with. Life was simple and time was not spent yearning for the things I didn’t have.
In the early 1980s, my family fell apart and we moved away from my friends, but I had my health, resilience, and the love of my family. To ease through the transition, I listened to my Sony Walkman, the radio, and of course watched MTV. I played with games like Simon, Atari, Rubik’s Cube, and lost myself by endlessly writing my thoughts on cute stationary paper. I missed my old buddies but have an abundance of warm memories of the new friends I made during that time.
In the late 1980s, my family fell apart a little more and we moved away from yet another set of friends. But I still had a home, my health, resilience, and the love of my family. Now, a pretentious teen, I was as acquisitive as a girl living in a one-bedroom apartment with her mom could be. I didn’t have Air Jordan’s, but I did have a multitude of Jelly shoes. I quote myself as saying, “I will only shop at Macy’s, you won’t catch me in Kmart!” Though those later teen years were busy, I was more concerned with getting my hair as big as possible, hanging out with friends, figuring out how to get a car, working a part-time job, and going to school. I thought of myself as materialistic, but in reality, I wasn’t.
I started a family of my own in the 1990s. Then in my early 20’s, I had a new home, good health, and an expanding family. Paying top dollar for items fell by the wayside and my focus was set on finding deals. I still wanted all the things; a stereo with a six-disc changer, Tickle Me Elmo, a camcorder, a DVD player, and Sega Genesis, but I was getting them at bargain prices wherever possible. There was no shame in my Kmart shopping game!
Throughout my 30’s and 40’s and in between marriage, school, children, divorce, and remarriage, there was still a desire to accumulate stuff. Many of the things bought earlier in life were upgraded, and new gadgets were added to my collection like; a Flip Video, an iPad, cell phones, a Kitchen Aide, a flat screen tv, an Instapot, a BlueRay DVD, a Kindle, and more.
Here we are in 2021, and here I am at 50. I have a home, I’m blessed to have my health, I have the love of my family, I managed to keep a couple of lifelong friends, and although I love a new gadget every once and a while, I find myself wanting less. I’ve traded my desire for the latest gadget, for shared meals, shared experiences, and time with my family and friends. The only thing that really matters to me is for my family and me to remain healthy, happy, and safe.
“Things are temporary, relationships last forever. Nothing can replace the time we spend investing in the life of another.” Roy Lessin