Well Chuck, I think you're right.
I remember during college when I was on the fast track to writing life-altering articles for a big newspaper (haha), the advertising sequence always tantalized me a bit. It was creative. There was money in it. They had cooler projects. There was a certain err to the advertising students. I remember when I mentioned this to my big brother, his eyes rolling and some tangent about how advertising is what is wrong with society.
But as I am on most issues, I try not to be to dead set one way. Call me wishy-washy, but I don't think there is anything wrong with standing right there in the middle and considering both ends of an argument.
I do think that what drives us at times is sad. Things. We want more and more things. It causes us to not want to give. To think we deserve more and more. To stay in that job we dread because we want a certain lifestyle. To work late and miss that dinner date with friends. Or that dance recital. Or that weekend home. Things that cause us to rack up thousands of dollars in credit card debt and magically achieve financial ruin before the age of 25. My bottom line of thinking on this is when things become more important than people, this is a problem.
What is it about things? Why do we crave them so much? Is advertising to blame?
Again, with most issues, I think the finger can certainly be pointed at more than one thing or person, and at least one finger needs to definitely be pointed at....ourselves. Does Mercedes make us buy a car we can't afford? Does Marc Jacobs make us charge that purse that costs more than our rent? No. We do all of that on our own. Maybe we get caught up in the pressure of society to have this or that. Maybe we want to keep up with the Joneses...Or more likely, have a cuter this or that than the bitchy woman we work with, or the neighbor we can't stand.
But, there is also the point that maybe we just enjoy it. We love fashion, so that Alice & Olivia blazer gives us the warm and fuzzies. Or we love being outside, so that fancy pool makes us smile every day. And this, my friends, is where I get it. I mean, I do work for a boutique, trying to get girls like you to buy shoes, jewelry and clothes. Photographing them on gorgeous girls so you look at the item and go "I want to look like that," and buy it. But, I also want you to look at that item, on that gorgeous girl, and say "I can look like that." Things, if we speak with a little brutal honesty, can build confidence. Certainly we want our brains and hearts to come first as to why we feel like a confident woman, but things help too. That killer dress. Or those jeans that make your ass look, well, perfect...they make us feel good.
So when it comes to things, we must hold ourselves accountable and constantly put it in perspective. To have balance. Don't stay in a job you hate just to have some fancy apartment. Cut back. Take a job you love and you'll be happier for it. Don't spiral out of control financially so you are always a slave to your debt. Sounds so easy, doesn't it? I say this without experience, as I charged too much in college, have a latte´ habit that is costing me a pretty penny, and feel actual anxiety when tons of cute things arrive at the boutique I work at (embarrassing, but true!) but I'm thinking it actually is pretty easy... if you just do it. If you take the stance that having things you can't afford actually isn't cool at all. It's actually a bit, well, sad.
So, for me, I'm going to be looking at it this way: Seek to impress people with who you are and not what you have, without sacrificing things you really love or enjoy.
*PS- If you haven't seen the movie The Joneses with Demi Moore, check it out...will serve as a great reminder not to get too wrapped up in things.