The guest room in my house has three things in it: a full-size bed, a $10 estate sale dresser and a nightstand one of my old neighbors gave me last spring. The room is painted a yucky lie of a color called “Harvest Peach,” but it looks nothing like a harvest peach and everything like a Halloween pumpkin. And what makes the paint job even worse is the fact that it needs another coat. The old pastel yellow of the room bleeds through the Halloween pumpkin, but I didn’t want to buy another can of paint and finish the second coat on principle. I just hate the color that much.
The door to my guest room is directly across from my bedroom door — making this monstrosity of an unfinished room the first thing I see when I turn the corner to go downstairs each morning.
Every time I even so much as look in my guest room, I start making a mental list of all the things I want to change about it.
I want a tufted headboard and I want to chalk paint the dresser. I want to get curtains that make more of a statement since they’re so prominent and I want to buy matted prints to decorate the wall across from the bed.
And this sort of Fixer Upper mentality? It doesn’t exactly stop with my guest room.
In every room of my house – I see a to-do list. I see furniture that needs replacing, whole décor that needs updating and spots on the wall that could use a little touch up.
The same want more, need more mindset extends into my wardrobe, my makeup bag and my suite of electronics.
The desire to have more, have newer, have better things has somehow become associated with contentment in my life – and I have no idea how or when that happened.
Let’s be real and talk about the whole thing thing for a sec, can we?
More things do not equal more joy. A picture perfectly decorated guest room or bedroom or living room will not make my life void of problems.
Things don’t equal happiness. And I know this.
Surely, we all knows this by now. We’ve seen the materialistic chase end in flames before. We’ve all witnessed people who want it all actually get it all – and we’ve seen those people be some of the joyless people we know.
So what drives us? What compels us to want and want and want? Why is it that I cannot LOOK at my guest room without making a rambling “MUST HAVE NOW” list that would clean out my local Lowe’s?
The real reason? The one that stirs me on to crave the acquisition of more stuff?
Because sometimes – more often than I’d like to admit – I care a whole lot about what you think.
I care what you think about the stuff that I have and the stuff that I don’t. I care that you can see bleach spots on my towels and I care that you know that I sometimes buy store brand white pasta instead of the organic whole wheat Barilla kind. I care that you see the chips in my mugs and that you know that my TV stand was left here by the people who used to live in my house.
I care that my guest room is the color of Cinderella’s pumpkin, okay? And I care if you hate it.
And in my ever-rotten people-pleasing mentality, sometimes, all I care about is impressing you. Sometimes, all I can think about is making sure you like it – whether “it” is my guest room or the dinner I’m serving or the cable package I have.
So I want more. I want better. I want bigger. I want perfect.
And the only cure (for me)? It’s contentment.
It’s gratitude. It’s knowing that a perfectly stocked linen closet – chock full of Egyptian cotton towels or the highest thread count sheets won’t buy me happiness. It’s reminding myself – over and over and over again – that it doesn’t matter if my guest room is Harvest Peach or Oscar the Grouch Green – it matters that it’s an open and inviting space for you.
And the cure (for others)? It’s appreciation.
It’s expressing your gratitude – to them. It’s reminding them that their home – Cheerios on the floor and dishes in the sink – is perfect. It’s reassuring her that you don’t care if the potatoes are undercooked and that all she has to drink is water. It’s showing up to say, “Life is messy, we are messy – but I love you just the same.”
More things aren’t the answer, friends. Let’s love more and crave less.
Do you struggle with wanting more / better / newer things? What spurs you on to want MORE stuff? Share in the comments below!