Our guest writer Hannah has written a beautiful thought provoking post about realising what you have, it has certainly made me take a step back and appreciate things much more...
We started this year by going to view some properties – new year new start and all that. We didn’t want to go far but had a look at some lovely ones near to where we are. Some of them were big, 6 bedrooms type of big. You must have a large family I hear you cry? No. There are 3 of us. And we were looking at houses big enough for us to have 2 bedrooms and a bathroom each. And that’s when it hit me. Why is it never enough? We seem to have embraced a culture where we never seem to think we have enough, that we are always keen for what’s coming next, for the next big thing and what we do have doesn’t come quickly enough. Have we forgotten how to be grateful and accepting? I certainly have.
It got me thinking and since that point I am noticing more and more often that we seem to have taught ourselves to be unsatisfied, with everything.
Our TV broke a few months back, reasonably annoying but not the end of the world and we are using one that belonged to my in-laws. It’s neither big nor fancy, nor is it smart. But there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. “We need to get a new tv” my husband announces one day, “we need a bigger one.” He is short sighted granted…..but I really had to argue the point that we didn’t ‘need’ anything, that the TV worked, and it was fine and to buy another was completely wasteful. We got a TV for free when ours broke, how is that not good enough?! When did we stop being grateful for what we had? Or heaven forbid have to wait for something? When did our consuming becoming so intense? When everything became available to us 24 hours a day, same day delivery, discount codes a-go-go, so cheap it didn’t matter if we binned it? Quite possibly.
My daughter wants a flower press at the moment, I had a quick look online and the first one that popped up was an “instant flower press.” Instant? What?? Isn’t that totally missing the point? Surely half of the joy comes from the anticipation of waiting and waiting for it to be ready? Finding joy in the wait no? There is so much to be learned (adults and children alike) from spending time with nature, from watching and waiting slowly for things to develop, grow and change, year after year. My garden is in no hurry to instantly grow and why should it, it takes time and so should we. We all know the excitement of wondering what the next chapter might hold as we put down a bedtime story for the night, I think we need to delve a bit more into that feeling.
Comparing ourselves to others by what we do and don’t have is by no means a judgement of how well we are doing in life but it truly is the thief of joy. If we have food, shelter, warmth and the love of those around us then we have enough. Anything else is a bonus. Can we stop this crazy obsession of needing to upgrade and update things all the time! My parent’s generation seemed quite happy to go without but quite quickly we’ve fallen into a trap of ‘needing’ things that we could clearly live without. So let’s learn to celebrate life for everything that it is, not what it could be. Let’s buy well and buy less, not buy cheap and then bin it at the first opportunity (don’t get me started on environmental issues, I’ll save that for another post). Let’s learn to wait.
So I’m making a concerted effort this year to clear out what we don’t need and to learn to be grateful for everything we have, because at one point, for us, it was all we ever wanted.
Parting words today are courtesy of the Willesden Green tube station staff…
“If you look at what you had in life you will always have more. If you look at what you don’t have you will never have enough.”