Keeping up with the Joneses

When you live in southern California – namely, Orange County – it’s REALLY hard not to want what it seems everyone else has. Especially when you can’t afford it! I’ll be honest, here’s what I wanted as a young married person (the 1st time around, that is):

  • Nicer cars
  • Nicer clothes
  • Nicer furniture
  • Better vacations
  • Kids and family experiences
  • Buying a house instead of renting

And to top it off, renting included being able to check the traffic by looking out the dining room window of our 1 bedroom apartment to see how packed the freeway was! I was SO ready to move somewhere more affordable and less affluent so I could feel like I fit in.

Hello, Colorado! When my ex and I moved, we rented a 3 BD, 2 BA house with a huge yard for less than that apartment in CA. But, Colorado Springs was still bussling with plenty of Coach bags, high heels and fancy cars, know what I mean?

And then, life happened.

I got divorced, met my sweet husband and we moved to Mexico to start a new life together. Ironically, he also had lived in southern CA with his ex-wife. He did make a good income and had a few nice houses and a fancy sports car. But none of it was very fulfilling because, in the end, his marriage was on the rocks just like mine was.

Well, we’ve had a much simpler life here in San Carlos for the last couple years. Most days I wear shorts and a tank top and sport a pony tail. And no make-up (gasp!). High heels? Maybe on Sundays for church, or if we go out on a date. But for the most part, I’m at home being a Mom, enjoying the basics.

Of course, life happened again and with baby #2 on the way, we decided to move back to the U.S.

But I’m nervous about one thing …

falling back into a lifestyle of “keeping up with the Joneses”.

I must be on a movie kick these days, because I keep thinking of how our lives and choices are often reflected in various movies (read my last post “The Importance of Being Earnest” – another great movie!). Anyway, The Joneses (2009), with Demi Moore and David Duchovny portrayed a family that wasn’t really a family. They were business people pretending to be a family in order to make BIG BUCKS!

That movie was a great reminder that trying to keep up with your neighbors and what the media wants you to think you need is really not what’s important in life. And as we head back to life in the U.S., I want to be fully aware of what my priorities are.

Let’s face it …

we all place value on relationships, things, and experiences.

What I’m willing to spend on a cup of coffee, or a movie, or a pair of running shoes, or the latest cell phone, or a computer, or a car, or a house, or a (fill in the blank) may not be the same as my neighbor. But I need to know what I value, and not feel bad about spending money or not spending money the way other people do (or don’t).

Of course, I’ll be honest, I do want to own a home and enjoy eating at nice restaurants, wear nicer clothes (sometimes) and look beautiful. I want to be able to use my Coach bag (yep, got one from hubby as a birthday gift!) and hang with other Mom’s and talk about our kids (all the while, checking out each other’s trendy outfits, right?!)

But, I don’t want those things to consume me. That’s the difference!

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5 Comments

Filed under Life Journal, Living in Mexico, Moving to U.S.

5 responses to “Keeping up with the Joneses

  1. Shannon

    It’s hard no matter where you live. Colorado, Mexico, California. Being consumed by God is the only remedy I think. Although I haven’t mastered that one–not even close. Don’t stress and go easy on yourself. Use my mantra from the Bible “Be satisfied with these…food and clothing.” Hugs, my friend.

  2. Chris Rogers

    I’ve lived in Orange County since 1990 and have accepted the fact that I will never be Jones! I am just happy to have what we need even though it may not be the latest and the greatest! We have 4 kids with college degrees and
    God always seems to provide when we need it. I thank God for my many blessings ( and the lovely weather!!!)

  3. I know what you mean! I much prefer to be comfortable and know that I have only bought things I can afford, and don’t seek an identity in what I have as far as ‘the latest fashions/brands’ go.Mostly it is convenience that dictates my purchases, not brands etc, though I will go for quality to last! Case in point….I have been wanting an iphone since I’ve been up for a phone upgrade 6 months ago. Figured I’d wait for the new one, makes sense right, to go with the newest technology? But it’s purely for convenience and laziness sake that I want it (no other reason, not any sort of ‘keeping up’ feelings) – only one device to carry with me on holiday, only 1 type of software to have to understand for music etc.

  4. i remember the movie! was a powerful message how purposeful marketing is and how easily we get caught up in it!

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