Appreciation Instead of Envy

This week for Meal Plan Monday I mentioned not going grocery shopping at all this week.  I cheated.  I bought some blueberries and a packaged salad one day but spending about $5 is better than the $25-$40 I have been known to spend on groceries for the week.

Yes, the last few days opening up my fridge (eggs, green beans, lettuce, and assorted condiments) has been kind of sad but it wasn’t that I didn’t have food.

It was like being a kid who doesn’t want to eat whatever was prepared for dinner and mom says “You can either eat what everyone else is eating or you can starve”.  I had to be the mom and tell myself if I was really hungry I needed to make something out of what I had in the house because I was not going shopping.  I would pout then I would find something to eat.

The week was challenging but I still ate dinner every night.  I survived.  I didn’t starve.

I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through my experience but I often write about how much the loss of my job and unemployment has changed me for the better.

One of the profound differences I’ve noticed lately is feeling more grateful for everything in my life from the big to the small. This week instead of thinking about all the people who have more than what I have I found myself thinking about the people who have less.  As I dug to the back of my pantry I realized I was choosing to go through this week not grocery shopping.  If I really needed to I could’ve gone to the store but there are people who don’t have that option.

I know lists of this type are usually reserved for Thanksgiving but I wanted to share some of the things I’m grateful for at this moment in my life (In no particular order).

  1. Family & Friends-I wouldn’t be where I am without support.  The support, encouragement, and belief in my abilities from the people around me keep me going everyday.  I’ll never be able to say thank you enough times to truly express my gratitude.  This includes all the readers and fellow bloggers.  Thank you! 🙂
  2. Roof over my head-I don’t have a job but despite my fears of living in my car I’m still living in a nice place.
  3. Food-Like I explained above, not starving.
  4. My health-Hopefully I’m not jinxing myself with this one but I’m exercising, losing weight, and despite high amounts of stress I’m feeling better than I’ve ever felt.
  5. James the cat-Even when he’s waking me up at 4:30 in the morning
  6. My Car-It’s old.  It makes a squeaky noise sometimes.  I worry it’s going to spontaneously fall apart but it keeps going.
  7. My phone-The screen is taped on with packing tape but it’s hanging in there and continues to work for me.
  8. My camera-It’s also old but it stands up to my abuse and photography helps keep me sane.
  9. Money-I wish I had more but I’m grateful for what I have and realize it’s possible to live with less.
  10. My laptop-I worry it’s going to burst into flames because it gets hot but it continues to work for me.

Okay.  I’m no saint.  I have some shallow, non-essential items on here.  Do I need a smartphone?  No.  If it died I would probably start the hunt for a cheap phone.  Same with the camera.  I could do without some of these things but I’m grateful I have them in my life right now.

We live in a culture where we expect to always have the ability to do certain things or have certain items in our lives, smartphones, DVR, Cable TV, Laptops, Tablets, go on vacations, dine out, buy coffee every morning, etc.  We fail to tell the difference between luxuries and necessities, between what we actually need to survive and what simply makes life easier.

When we lose perspective, we lose gratitude.

We’re quick to look at what someone else has that we don’t instead of looking at what we have that someone else doesn’t (if that makes sense).  Basically, we envy instead of appreciate.  It’s easy to get caught up in wanting to have more and forget about those who have less.  My hope with this post would be to inspire others to limit your envy of others, stop, and think about all the big and small things you’re grateful for in your life.

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