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April 11, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 1

Being Grateful for What I Have

By Anne Christen More Blogs by This Author

Ever since moving into my apartment 14 months ago, I’ve been trying to get out of it. I live in a one-bedroom, 600 square foot place that would be ideal for someone in their early 20s who is just starting out, but that’s not me. I’m 34 and haven’t lived at home in 13 years. In that time, I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff, and I need someplace to put it all. A one-bedroom apartment is thus less than ideal.

There’s another component to this story, however, that’s a little hard to admit. It has been a blow to my ego to be forced into this living environment at my age. I don’t want to live here; I want a two-story house, a picket fence, and several dogs running around. A huge oak tree in the front yard and a garden in the back would be nice, too. And I’ll take a horseshoe-shaped driveway for parking my car.

So Much for Dreams

But this apartment has become not unlike my weight (and my hair). I keep thinking life will be okay after I move, just like I keep thinking life will really start after I lose weight and let my hair grow to the small of my back. Does this mean I’m not living life to the fullest in the meantime? You better believe it. Because wasting each and every day on hoping for the future is just that: a waste.

When I look back on my years, I see a person who has always wanted the unattainable. She cried like a little girl when she couldn’t have what she wanted and ended up squandering precious time as a result. I’ve done nothing important with my life; I don’t have children or a decade-long career. In fact, in retrospect, I see a series of stops and starts, in which I’ve often stuttered along my path without really leaving my mark, I don’t want to live like that anymore.

Gratification

The point for me is that I need to be thankful for what I have rather than sulking over that which I don’t. I’m not thin, my hair isn’t long, and I don’t live in a palace. Does that make me a lesser human being? Only in my mind, and it’s this thinking that needs to stop. Now. Before another decade goes by and I’ve still not accomplished anything important.

My latest task is to cultivate genuine gratification for the life that’s been given to me. I don’t know how to do this, because I can’t help but feel sad sometimes at the fact that I’ve not started a family and likely never will. And I know I’ll not be happy with myself until I lose weight, so the solution is to start now. I don’t want to lose another minute. The time I’ve already lost is gone forever, but I have the entire future before me to turn things around.

I’m giving myself a goal to say a prayer each night and list five things for which I’m grateful. I will start with the most essential:

  1. My freedom
  2. My family
  3. My health (and that of the people I love)
  4. My work
  5. A roof over my head and a car to drive

Dwelling on the positive in my life should help me overcome the negative. I’m looking forward to changing my way of thinking, while striving to live in the moment.

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