If there are two words that could describe the United States today, they are “too much.” Too much food, too much fat, too much stuff, too much money, too much expense, too much need, too much to do, too much worry. We are an extreme nation; everything we have, everything we do is to excess. Our rich are excessively rich; and I would venture to say our poor feel their poverty more than the poor in other nations because here they see the excess all around them. And what about the people in the middle? Well, our family income qualifying us a middle-class, I’ll serve as representative of that demographic.
We certainly have too much stuff. My husband and I recently inherited an antique sideboard, so I was cleaning out our linen cabinet to make way for it. Amongst my things, I found a lovely tablecloth I didn’t even know I owned! As a PC technician at a local company, my husband gets to bring home outdated computer equipment that has been sent to the “graveyard” in his department. At one point, we had more computers in our house than we had people living in it. I made him start giving them away. Last night, my son fell asleep on our couch, and I picked him up to put him in his own bed. I had to pick my way through the minefield that is his bedroom floor, strewn with a ridiculous number of toys.
Right now, we are also dealing with too much expense. We just found out our health insurance (don’t get me started – that’ll have to be a whole ‘nother blog entry!) is no longer going to cover the Nexium my husband takes for gastroesophageal reflux. As of next month, it will cost us about $160 a month. So he’ll have to go back to the doctor (more money) and try a bunch of new medications (more money) until he can find one that works and is covered by insurance. Gas prices are killing us too. I keep hearing in the local news that the high gas prices aren’t changing the way most Hoosiers drive (“Hoosiers Stomach $3 Gas,” Indianapolis Star, 7/7/06), but they sure have affected our family. I try to get all my errands done in one trip and minimize the number of places I have to go.
And speaking of errands brings me to too much to do. We were looking at our calendar for the rest of this month. It’s alarming. We have dentist appointments, doctor appointments, family birthday dinners, a college reunion, and swim lessons. My son is starting kindergarten on the 16th, so we have to add school and an open house and a teacher conference to the mix. And my university starts the fall semester on the 23rd, so I have syllabi and lesson plans to prepare, organizational workshops and seminars to attend. My husband and his best friend were hoping to go biking one weekend this month, but there is not a single weekend without at least one event already planned.
Which brings us to our “too much need.” We need time. Time to relax, time to think, time to plan, time to be a family. If we had enough time, maybe we could look around and identify the stuff we have too much of and give it to people who need it. (I have a box of old toys and a case of diapers that I’ve been meaning to donate to the church homeless shelter for a month now.) We need sleep! We’ve been blessed with two children who are champion sleepers, but unfortunately, my hubby and I worry too much which keeps us from sleeping enough.
We’re having a garage sale next week. It’s another event we have to prepare for and set time aside for, but it’ll help us get rid of some of the stuff we have too much of and maybe raise a little money to get us some of the stuff we require. Isn’t it funny that in a country with too much of everything, we rarely have enough of the things we need? Maybe that’s why we have too much worry.