We are moving into a newer, nicer house. I have this sort of vision of our “ultimate” house, and this isn’t it yet, but its starting to get closer. Since we found our new home, I have been busy spending every spare second visualizing how I am going to make it perfect there. I am imagining how I will arrange our furniture, how I will organize the pantry and closets, where we will place TVs and lamps. As I have been doing this, it has become abundantly clear that what we currently have is not good enough. Or at the very least, we need a lot more stuff, a lot nicer stuff to spruce up this new home.
I’m envisioning new furniture to replace our worn, saggy couch and our chipped, wobbly coffee table. I’m envisioning actual bedroom furniture, like real nightstands instead of the Target mini shelves I bought for $19.99 in college and put together wrong that we are still using now. I need canvas prints of our professional photos, I need art for the walls, I need themed bathrooms instead of leftover towels and bathmats from when I was twenty. I have a running list in my phone, the “we need for the new house” list.
And the more I’ve been thinking about all this stuff, the higher my anxiety rises. As I spend my free moments imagining what would look better than what we have, I start feeling financial pressure. We cannot comfortably afford all I am wanting. How can we figure this out? I start to get a little panicky. I start to say things like “I just need like $2,000 for decorating and then I will be happy.” I remember that we have a baby coming and we will have to pay for things like a hospital delivery and baby supplies and we will have to figure out how to pay bills while I am out on an unpaid maternity leave. It starts getting pretty hard to breathe deeply, pretty hard to shut off my mind, pretty hard to be still.
I am listing like there is no tomorrow. I write and re-write our expenses and income and calculate and re-calculate and I see we will probably make it financially, but there is really no room at all for any extra stuff I want. This extra stuff I have convinced myself WE NEED in order to be happy.
Last night I stopped at the fridge for some water before going to bed. As I stood in front of the glowing light of the refrigerated interior gulping down cold, fresh water, I suddenly noticed how beautifully full our fridge was. It was overflowing with fresh fruit and veggies and milk and Dr. Pepper and juice boxes and pasta and leftovers and yogurt and cheeses and meats and eggs and things like rainbow chip frosting and green olives and about 7 different kinds of pickles. My mind quickly bounced to our pantry, equally full, almost ridiculously full of all kinds of breads and pastas and cereals and soups and sauces and pretty much every dried good imaginable.
All it took was that one moment, and I felt gratitude start creeping in, and pretty soon it was flooding in. We own a home. We own a home. A real, beautiful, plenty of space home. We can heat it and cool it comfortably in any season. I have enough Scentsy wax to last me the next couple years ensuring each room always smells like heaven. My husband, my daughter and I each have closets full of clothes we love. We have the luxury of tvs in three rooms, we have books galore to feed our minds, I have a treasure trove of Lush bath bombs and bubble bars for my nighttime bubble bath ritual. We have a washer and dryer so I don’t have to go anywhere but here to clean our clothes.
We have all these creature comforts and so much more. We have health. At this time everyone in our family is healthy. There are no chronic health conditions we spend nights awake worrying about. My husband and I are happy. I don’t spend an ounce of energy worrying about us as a couple. Our daughter is witnessing a harmonious and happy marriage and a deep, confident love between her parents. I have the incredible fortune to be able to stay home with my daughter every day and work at the same time. I have this little computer I reach the outside world on, I have friends I can count on to lift my spirits, make me laugh, show me love and understanding. I get to have a date night with my husband every week because we are lucky enough to have both sets of grandparents near us, healthy, and overjoyed to spend time with their granddaughter.
Its crazy how if we let it, gratitude can fill us up to a point where nothing else seems important anymore. The same is true with wanting – if I let it, it can easily convince me I don’t have enough. It can cause my mind to race, can make me feel less than, can keep me focused on all the things I don’t have rather than the incredible, amazing abundance right before my eyes.
My husband and I like to play the “what-if” game. “What if I had a job that paid triple what I’m making now, but I had to travel all the time?” Triple the income would mean we could have anything we wanted, I could decorate to my hearts content, our savings account would be replenished, the financial stress would be gone. I answered with less time than it took my heart to beat: “No way.” We can always make more money. Always, any day it is available for us. It might not be fun, it might mean we are working longer hours, taking on second and third jobs, but its always, always an option. But once time is gone, its gone forever. We have a finite amount of that, and not a single one of us knows how much longer we have available to us or with the ones we love most. For me, that time is infinitely better spent making memories with my family than working for the purpose of buying a nicer rug for our floor.
So our new house isn’t going to be filled with all the finer things. Its not going to be perfect, it will still have our worn down lumpy couch and chipped tables. Who knows how many more years we will be using my college towels and make-shift “night stands”. Those canvas prints may never get printed. But I don’t want to spend one single second longer believing I don’t have enough. I have absolutely everything I will ever need in this little house.
So I am thankful for that late night sip of water, that glowing refrigerator that snapped me out of a cycle of “not enough” thinking, that calmed my racing mind, that changed my perspective in a moments time. My blessings are absolutely breathtaking.
To know you have enough is to be rich – Tao Te Ching (a magnet, appropriately, on my fridge).