Thursday, 24 November 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.