So many people find it so easy to complain in life. They work too hard for too little, they can barely afford their healthcare, and people around them have so much more while they struggle to pay the bills. I used to feel this way myself a bit. But over time I have recognized that no matter how much you have, you will always want more. Becoming aware of the vast amount of things we already have helps us feel richer and fuller without spending a dime.
We get up in the morning and take a shower while we turn on the coffeemaker to brew a cup of coffee. We eat our cereal and drink our OJ, then throw our cup and bowl in the dishwasher and press a button. We drive to work listening to our favorite CD or talking on the cell phone to our spouse, friend or family member before we even get to work.
Many of us have gotten into financial trouble by using our credit cards irresponsibly and getting deep into debt. We have three different video game systems for our children and buy designer shoes and jeans whenever we “need” new clothes. Then we come home to 52″ big-screen plasma TV and start watching a new DVD movie while we fix dinner and simultaneously recording our favorite shows on Tivo so we can get on the Internet and chat about what happened to us that day.
Isn’t it amazing how much we tend to take for granted and overlook as we complain about our lack of money and need for a bigger house? Yet there are people even in our own society who can’t feed their children, or don’t have a home. We can see people every night on the evening news with a family of ten in a one-bedroom house. There are people who don’t have access to clean water, whose children have no schools to attend and where medicine is in short supply.
This isn’t an article with solutions to all those problems. It’s simply a wake-up call for all of us to look around and recognize all the luxuries we enjoy. How many people feel panicked and upset if they forget their cell phone at home when they go to work? Why should we? We have phones at work, and most of us have coworkers with cell phones we could use in an emergency.
How often do we give thanks for our designer clothes, instead of being upset because we couldn’t buy that new shirt we wanted last week? If you cook, how often have you thought, “What a wonderful stove I have, it works great and cooks my food to perfection.” I’m sure if you talk to campers who live in the woods for a week and cook over a smoky fire, they can tell you the joys of the modern stove.
Next time you’re stuck in traffic, complaining about the back-up, turn up the music and give thanks for your satellite radio. When you wait in a long line at the grocery store, rejoice that you can wheel all those groceries to your car and drive home instead of carrying them on your head for five miles. When the newest video game is sold out, instead of complaining, go home and play one of the fifty you already own and love.
Let this article be a starting point for you to become more aware of the huge variety of luxuries you use on a daily basis. Give thanks for your car, your computer, your cordless phone, your DVD collection, your cable TV and whatever else you indulge in each day. Recognize the hard work that gave you the money to buy your big TV, your favorite dress, diamond necklace or riding lawnmower. Take the time to acknowledge the many items that make your life easier day in and day out. You’ll feel a broader sense of fulfillment and peace, and you just might find a little more enjoyment in those everyday pleasures.