The “More” Train

My train of thought:  this is a pig race... it's similar to a rat race, which is just like a ride on the "more" train.
My train of thought: this is a pig race… it’s similar to a rat race, which feels just like a ride on the “more” train.

So I opened up my laptop Sunday afternoon to finally work on some fiction, only to discover something else I needed to say first.   For days I’ve been trying to root out the cause of my  anxiety.  I traced it to several things, but all paths seem to lead me back to the moment I bought my ticket and climbed aboard the “more” train.

Huh?

Let me explain a little.  Not too much because this is a blog post, not a full autobiography (you can thank me later for skipping details!)  Several years ago, I took my seat on the “more” train.  I stretched my legs and settled in for what I expected would be a luxurious ride.  I convinced myself that a bigger house would solve my problems.  I believed a new location would bring contentment.  I naively poured all my hope for a future into that move.

Sitting on the other side of the experience, I laugh at my naivety.  The “more” train turned out to be a one-way trip to a miserable place where more is never enough.  But I learned something… well, a few somethings, really:  more house doesn’t make old problems go away, it just provides ample space for them to grow; a change of location doesn’t mean a clean slate; and more stuff doesn’t fill the emptiness inside someone.

The “more” train takes you right to the “more” monster.  It is insatiable.  The more you feed it, the more it wants.  And it never gets full.  EVER!  The bigger house and the land wasn’t enough.  New wants kept sneaking onto a never-ending list.  Then came complaints about not having money (well, duh- it’s expensive to feed the “more” monster.)

I’m finding it’s also expensive to get out of the “more” monster’s clutches.  For the first time in thirteen years, I have credit card debt and it’s increasing every month.  I struggle with stress over whether I can escape without being completely buried in debt.  I pray for peace in this regard, although I have no one to blame but myself.

I have faith that one day, I will be permitted to transfer to a different “more” train- the one that leads to more time with family and friends, more compassion, more kindness, more memories that I actually want to close my eyes and look back on.  I want less tangible and more intangible.  The currency of this “more” train is human interaction, not dollars.

I guess the point of this post is to urge anyone tempted by the lure of acquiring “more” stuff to don’t do it.  I can’t stress that enough- DON’T DO IT!  If you think that expensive handbag, the iPad, the Corvette, the new-latest-and-greatest-whatever will make your life better- it won’t.  Sorry, but it’s the truth.  Please, put your wallet away and spend some quiet time contemplating what’s missing inside.

Then, go visit a friend, or volunteer your time for a cause you care about, or just say “good morning” to a stranger and really mean it.

Have a beautiful Monday!  (I sincerely mean that 🙂 )

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56 thoughts on “The “More” Train

  1. Timothy Price October 26, 2015 / 5:40 AM

    Excellent post, and true in every respect!

    • jannatwrites October 26, 2015 / 5:52 AM

      Thanks, Tim. Unfortunately this was all the writing I did before a migraine took me down. There’s always tonight 🙂

      • Timothy Price October 26, 2015 / 6:28 AM

        Sorry about the migraine! You got your point across very well before your migraine got the best of you.

        • jannatwrites November 6, 2015 / 12:36 PM

          Thanks, Timothy. It’s been another week 😦

  2. momsomniac October 26, 2015 / 5:47 AM

    I manage my church’s (Lakewood UCC in Colorado) Facebook page. May I share this there?

    • jannatwrites October 26, 2015 / 5:51 AM

      Absolutely, Momsomniac. Thanks for asking 🙂

  3. Nurse Kelly October 26, 2015 / 6:08 AM

    Wonderful post, Janna! Hope you have a lovely week!

  4. Anita Kushwaha October 26, 2015 / 6:13 AM

    Thanks for this post, Janna. Very thought-provoking. I get caught up with the “more” train every once in a while – a common preoccupation for writers, I think, ha ha – and I have moments when I think, “If I just get that, or live there, or start fresh then everything will be all right. Then I’ll be happy and at peace.” Life has taught me recently that it isn’t out there, not really. But in some ways, that’s a relief. Happy Monday to you too! 🙂

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2015 / 12:38 PM

      I think we all get swept up in it at times (and marketers know how to play this, too!) I think if we are mindful and can recognize it, we can catch ourselves before we end up on a ride didn’t intend to take. I sure won’t make the same mistakes again! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

      • Anita Kushwaha November 7, 2015 / 8:21 AM

        Oh yes, what you said about mindfulness really rings true with me. It’s been such an important part of my journey and self-compassion too. As you said, creating that space to observe can make such a difference. Happy weekend to you, Janna! 🙂

        • jannatwrites November 15, 2015 / 8:17 PM

          Thanks, Anita! Hope you had a nice weekend 🙂 (I can’t believe so much time elapsed in my addressing the comments here. Yikes!)

        • Anita Kushwaha November 16, 2015 / 8:20 AM

          Time always gets away from me when it comes to comments, so no worries at all! 😉 I had a great weekend, thanks. Went to concert and a soccer game, which was fun even though our team lost the playoffs, sniff sniff. Hope you enjoyed your weekend too. 😀 Happy Monday to you!

        • jannatwrites November 17, 2015 / 10:42 PM

          It’s always fun when we can do something memorable and enjoyable in our free time, Anita. I’m glad you enjoyed your time! (My weekend was quiet – I watched some movies on Netflix and did some writing and much-needed blog stuff.) This week is off and running, so I’m holding on tight, haha!

        • Anita Kushwaha November 18, 2015 / 7:32 AM

          Oh I agree! I usually find the week quite hectic and scheduled, so on the weekends I enjoy having at least one unstructured day to help me unspool. I hope you have a great week! 🙂

        • jannatwrites November 18, 2015 / 9:09 PM

          Thanks, Anita 🙂

  5. Polysyllabic Profundities October 26, 2015 / 6:52 AM

    This is a wonderful post. I live small for a reason and I truly embrace it. I hope the more train slows down so you can disembark. xx

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2015 / 12:39 PM

      You are very smart, Susan. I long to get back to small and simple.

  6. Debbie October 26, 2015 / 7:25 AM

    Well said, Janna! I’ve never heard it expressed as the “more” train, but that’s an apt description. It’s kind of like when you buy a new sofa. Suddenly, ALL the furniture looks shabby! I suppose it’s human nature to always think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence; too many of us come to the realization that’s far from true, though. Sometimes we just need to learn contentment within!

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2015 / 12:40 PM

      Well, I didn’t know if I heard that somewhere or if I made it up (that happens a lot with thoughts in my head, haha). You are so right… contentment comes from inside and our mindset greatly affects whether we see contentment or not.

  7. nrhatch October 26, 2015 / 11:22 AM

    Good for you, Janna.
    Recognizing the source of a problem is the first step to solving it.

    Good luck disembarking from the more train and its incessant demands.

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2015 / 12:41 PM

      Thanks, Nancy! Simple is better, in my book 🙂

  8. chlost October 26, 2015 / 4:03 PM

    Your description of this attitude is quite accurate. I agree. However, I am married to someone who has always wanted more. Admits it. Is okay with it. Traces it to his childhood. Will never change. After many, MANY years together, I am still struggling to deal with that. Good for you to want to make the change. Good luck.

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2015 / 12:42 PM

      I was married to someone like this, too. I failed to make it work, but I do hope you are able to find some compromise and contentment in the situation, Chlost 🙂

  9. Widdershins October 27, 2015 / 5:51 PM

    Every now and then I jump on the ‘more’ train but I get off at the next station. Way better things to do with my time 😀

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2015 / 12:44 PM

      It’s good you can hop off quickly, Widdershins! I guess I thought it was a better deal to take the non-stop route 😦

  10. femmefrugality October 28, 2015 / 6:02 AM

    This is beautiful. I love the idea of transferring. It’s so easy to think a different lifestyle will make us feel more fulfilled, when really it’s the people in that life that matter.

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2015 / 12:44 PM

      That sums it up nicely – friendships and our experiences can be more than enough 🙂

  11. Kathy Combs (@KathyCombs16) October 28, 2015 / 7:20 AM

    The more train complete with more monster is quite consuming. If not careful, it can swallow you whole.

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2015 / 12:45 PM

      I think it has, Kathy. Thanks for stopping by!

  12. diannegray October 28, 2015 / 1:38 PM

    That more train is a wild ride. I love to live simply (but that doesn’t mean I don’t have credit card debt from the RUC). Nothing but love fills that empty space inside and this kind of love comes from children, family and friends 😉

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2015 / 12:47 PM

      You had quite the renovation, so some debt is to be expected! Love is a wonderful space filler. Have a beautiful weekend, Dianne

  13. the dune mouse November 2, 2015 / 10:55 PM

    excellent advice and moral story Janna. I like your second more train a lot!!! Blessings!!!

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2015 / 12:47 PM

      That is the more train I want to board and stay on, TDM 🙂

  14. frederick anderson November 3, 2015 / 1:01 AM

    The richer you are, the more possessions you accumulate, the more people you discover who have even more than you. It’s a never-ending ladder. While I was wealthy (ier) I was perpetually worried about protection of the things I owned – was my boat safely moored, who was trying to steal my car, did I have enough alarms fitted to my houses, and so on. Now – no boat, one small car nobody would want to steal, nothing about my small house which says ‘rob me’ – no problem!

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2015 / 12:48 PM

      I like your way of thinking, Frederick. More stuff really is more burden. I used to have a car I thought no one would want to steal, but someone tried (I joked with the police that they probably did take it and then decided they’d rather walk and brought it back.)

  15. GodGirl November 5, 2015 / 2:49 AM

    Thank you for your honesty and wisdom here, Janna. Less really is more, unless it’s more of the healthy, relational, life-enriching stuff. “Stuff” simply doesn’t make us happy for long.
    Praying for your financial situation, that you’d be free of debt soon and find your feet.

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2015 / 12:49 PM

      Thanks for the prayers, GodGirl. Things are so overwhelming right now, but I do have faith that one day, the beast will be tamed and less will be my more.

  16. agjorgenson November 5, 2015 / 7:00 PM

    So very well said Janna! The truly sad thing is that everywhere we turn the lie is being hawked, and too many have to learn the hard way. Blessings to you in your journey.

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2015 / 12:50 PM

      Thanks, Allen. I’m frightened when I see some of this more mentality in my kids. But I know where where they get it from 😦 I believe it’s not too late to show them a different way, though.

  17. pattisj November 5, 2015 / 10:01 PM

    I’m finding less really is more. We don’t own stuff, it owns us–why else would it be so hard to part with it? I appreciate your words of wisdom, and agree in prayer with Ali (Godgirl).

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2015 / 12:51 PM

      Thanks, Patti. I’m letting go of a lot and this will be complete when I can finally get rid of this house.

      • pattisj November 6, 2015 / 3:14 PM

        I’m sorry things didn’t work out. I know how excited you were to move and have a fresh start–and all the work you did outdoors.

        • jannatwrites November 15, 2015 / 8:09 PM

          The house is still up for sale. It’s just a matter of waiting, Patti. I think it’s another one of those things that’s God’s timing, not mine 🙂

  18. Eli Pacheco November 6, 2015 / 10:02 AM

    I think you get the most traction off the more train when you go down to virtually nothing. The more can even cloud what you see of yourself. It’s not an easy walk – but I’m there in a parallel universe, right with you.

    • jannatwrites November 6, 2015 / 12:53 PM

      Thanks for the encouraging comment, Eli. Some days it’s so overwhelming I just want to give up, so it helps to see that getting to less isn’t impossible.

        • jannatwrites November 15, 2015 / 8:20 PM

          Thanks, Eli. I’m hanging in there.

  19. philosophermouseofthehedge November 7, 2015 / 9:15 AM

    My grandmother used to say, “You can only wear one pair of shoes at a time.” Guess I’ve mostly been one of the lesser people. Lucky dad dragged us out of the city each weekend and summer to the farm without electricity, water from a well, and no indoor bathroom. You see other things and people differently. While I do have more than one pair of shoes and a much fuller closet, I prefer to pay a bit more for well made classics that will last a long time. Our cars tend to be 10-15 years old but running perfectly well. We did run up bills during 10 years of layoffs at work, but have finally paid it all off and try to keep it on a pay as you go plan. (It was a long depressing haul, but finally done.)
    The current materialism of today’s world really concerns me. All this talk about being gentle with the earth and global warming, yet people must have the newest phone, computer, tablet , or trendy electric car- never asking what happens to the old ones and what it cost to build the new “toy”.
    This is an excellent post. It and you will make a difference.Take heart and hang in there.

    • jannatwrites November 15, 2015 / 8:19 PM

      We can’t control tough times that can happen – so in cases like that, debt can happen. When the debt is a normal way of life, then it can be a bit overwhelming. I know that eventually, I will get debt paid down, but it does still weigh on me. I need to be able to accept it and know that I’m not acquiring it from extravagant living (and that once the house is sold, I can reclaim my finances and sanity.)

        • jannatwrites November 17, 2015 / 10:43 PM

          You’re right, Phil… there will be sun and I just need to patient for it 🙂

  20. Emilio Pasquale November 17, 2015 / 2:27 PM

    Boy, do I identify with everything you say. I would elucidate but normally I’m a pretty private person and I’d rather not have everyone who reads your blog know everything about me. But you’re right. More is never enough. And credit card debt becomes easier and easier to live with when it happens.

    • jannatwrites November 17, 2015 / 11:00 PM

      Haha, I know what you mean, Emilio… it’s hard to put too many details ‘out there’…. but this post had been nagging me and had to be written 🙂 I hate credit card debt because it’s stupid. And I say it’s stupid because I shop bargains. I spend time tracking something I want and I don’t buy it until I think I am getting the best deal. It makes no sense to do this and then turn around and pay 10 to 17 percent interest. It’s only temporary, I keep reminding myself.

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