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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Gratitude





I am envious.

I can step outside of my door every day and choose to see what I want to see; and like most people, my default is to see what I lack - a surprisingly easy task in such a wealthy country. It is so much easier to compare myself to those 'doing better' - to see the flash cars, billboards, airbrushed magazine covers, aspirational homes - than to see the reality of those struggling below me. Some days I am filled with angst for all the things that I don't have. My neighbours own their home, I only rent. My colleagues go on several holidays and weekends away each year, I might have just one week away. Some of my acquaintances can spend money without a second thought, I have to balance a food budget. Poor, poor me.

If I didn't take the time to stop and really look, I probably wouldn't appreciate the roof over my head, rented or otherwise, until I lost it. I would take for granted that we have running water, running HOT water. That my children are growing up in peacetime, on UK soil at any rate. That I can afford and can access good healthy food for us all.  That I had an education, that I can read and write and do maths. That my partner and I both, for the time being at least, have jobs. That I have an awful lot to be thankful for, in comparison with the vast majority of humans on this planet; and even some of my close neighbours. There are some things I lack. Sometimes things are a little tight. But mostly, I am blessed.

I sometimes wonder what is the most important skill for living a simple life and I change my mind regularly. I know that it isn't bread baking, or sewing, or knitting or cooking from scratch, these are merely means to an end. I wonder if it is knowing when to say 'enough' - and to acquire this skill is to be able to look at your life once in a while in the light of all of the things that you do have and be filled with gratitude for them.       

I am envious that we do not have a day in the UK dedicated to expressing gratitude for all that we have.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American friends.


5 comments:

LindaG said...

I know what you mean. I have to remember to be thankful for what I have instead of what I do not.

It's always easier to see what someone else has.

denimflyz said...

Thank you for your thought inspired post. Gratitude comes many ways for many people. It is seen differently.
I am poor by The US Census, making only $8000 a year us. But I do not feel "poor".
I do not have a new car, a new home, only a dumpy modular that has seen better days, BUT, it is home, a roof, a warm, cocoon from the world outside and the not so nice people I live around.
Sadly, I see others who are poor, but they are poor by their own means, where I live, they are drug users, alcoholics, and choose to buy dope, and booze for themselves instead of food and clothing for their children. But yet complain, that they have nothing to show for it?
I am grateful that I am still able to get up in the morning, and when my weather is good in spring, I can garden and bring wonderful produce to my table to eat when times are lean. I am disabled in the spine, but I still can function to be able to do this. I am grateful for grandparents who instilled the ability to can and dry and learn to store food, and to be able to run a household on little.
Have a wonderful upcoming weekend.

Anonymous said...

I love Thanksgiving. It's not an expensive holiday and everyone can celebrate it in some fashion or another. It's so good for me to feel gratitude, and anybody can do that, but it surprizes me to know that other countries don't adopt some sort of harvest celebration. But, it seems like a lot of folks like the idea, and maybe they just go ahead and make their own celebration of gratitude.

brenda from arkansas

Erika said...

Beautifully put. Thank you for a timely and eloquent reminder.

glenda said...

I loved this post! Recently certain changes have provoked people to comment to me 'you are so lucky'. I don't feel lucky. I feel overwhelmed with work. But it's work that I choose to do and have the meager means to carry out. You've reminded me that it is so important to take the time to be thankful and then keep working hard for the changes I want to make in the world!! Thanks. Sometimes thoughtful words are presented when we need them and are open to the message!!