Wanting What We’ve Got

perry - wilmette, Illinois
Entered on January 16, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: gratitude

About this time every year, millions of us take some time out to relax, refresh and reflect…on the year just ending, on our current state of being and on what we want to achieve in the months ahead. As a work in progress myself, I have always found this reflection time important.

This year, amidst the gloomy outlook, I am looking for a silver lining. In these uncertain economic times, we are all no doubt looking for ways to save more and spend less. For me, that backdrop is perfect for an idea Sheryl Crow so aptly describes as “not having what you want but wanting what you’ve got.”

I’ve always loved this phrase but recently I’ve been thinking much more about it. Let me say here that for all those who may have lost jobs or houses or even worse, loved ones, this past year that I understand that I am truly lucky not to be in that position. I am blessed to be healthy, to have all the basics well covered for myself and for my family. And, I’m lucky to be working for a solid ethical company that I am confident will still be here next year.

For those who did suffer a major loss this past year, I am truly sorry. My heart goes out to you. You have every reason to be sad or hurt or angry or all of the above. But, for those people who are, like me, poorer as we exit the year but still doing ok, 2009 may be our best chance to bring Sheryl’s words to life in our own lives.

Instead of complaining about what we don’t have or can’t afford…think about what would happen if we wanted what we had? Wanted our families, even that weird uncle or bossy grand mother…Wanted our jobs, despite long hours or limited advancement or difficult bosses…Wanted our houses, even without the addition or the new bathroom…Wanted our bodies, as is, as long as they are healthy…Wanted the clothes we already own, even if they aren’t the latest fashion? Think about it. Think of the power of it! It may not help our consumer driven economy but then again, I think we need to change our dependence on consumer spending anyway. Wow! What a difference that would make and how much more time we’d all have if we weren’t always shopping or spending money – time to enjoy our families, time to help those not as fortunate or time to learn something new, by borrowing a book from the library so we don’t even need to buy anything!

That has A LOT of appeal to me. So, in 2009, that is my resolution. To do less longing and more appreciating of what I’ve got. To be happier even without having more stuff.

I for one have no interest in spending 2009 complaining about all that has gone wrong. I’d much rather focus on fixing things and trying to be happy. No politician or CEO – no matter how good – can make that happen for me. It’s up to me to do it for myself. And, it’s up to you to do it for yourself. What do you think? Can you find an attitude of gratitude in 2009?