I can be an ungrateful person sometimes. I like to think that, for the most part, I’m pretty aware of those around me and I appreciate the things I’ve been given, both by other people and by God. I have great parents, a great husband, and a great kitty. I’m not one of the ten-plus percent of this country without a job. I’m in relatively good physical health, and although I’m not in the best mental health right now, I’m neither suicidal nor homicidal, and I can manage to convince myself to get out of bed every morning (if for no other reason than to go to work so we don’t end up in the street). I have a home that’s not more than I can afford, and I have the luxury to have a “food tantrum” when I don’t know what I want for dinner. We’ve been blessed with enough money to pay for our needs and a few “wants” as well. I’m incredibly thankful for all of this.
But, I also know that I’m not immune to ungratefulness; I get irritated when there’s nothing I want to watch on the 120 channels we currently have, when less than a year ago, we only had twenty. I wonder why we couldn’t have even a 1200-foot house, when I should be grateful for the 1100 square feet I do have. I get resentful when we can’t go out to nice restaurants when we have enough money to afford our groceries. When I think about these things, I’m ashamed of myself and of my attitude.
So often, though, I’m confronted with ungratefulness without shame….people who complain about their wealth and the “burden” of it. Seriously? If your wealth is so burdensome that you find yourself exhausted every day because you just can’t seem to find enough ways to spend it all, then you should take some serious time to think about what that says about you as a person. If it’s so exhausting, then why not give it away (try suggesting that and see what kind of reaction you’ll get!)? It always amazes me that ungrateful-and-shameless people never think twice about complaining about their wealth to people who don’t have nearly as much. And I don’t think twice about rolling my eyes when someone complains to me about what a burden it is to keep up a 4000 square foot home. Really? Think about how ridiculous that sounds.
So, my irritation with “rich people” and their “rich people problems” today brought me to the place where I realized my own ungratefulness, and I think it’s time for a big lifestyle shift. While I am by no means wealthy, I am affluent according to the global definition; I have a roof over my head, electricity, running water, a toilet in my house, food in my fridge, a car to drive, a tv to suck my brain…and on a more fundamental level, I have hands and feet that work, eyes with which to see and read, ears to hear music, and a voice to speak and sing.
I’ve always been interested in simple, sustainable living, but the events of the day have sealed it for me. Stay tuned.
The things we have to keep reminding ourselves about… that we really do live better than the vast majority of people in the world. I have a 635 sq ft condo, in a neighborhood where I can walk to do a lot of my errands. This is puzzling to many people – I could’ve afforded a much larger condo! In a much swankier area! But… that’s not the person I want to be…