Sometimes I look at my life and I notice all the things lacking.  It sometimes makes me depressed when that happens and I start feeling sorry for myself.

Then I read about the plight of people less fortunate than me and I again realize how lucky I am.  It always serves as a wake-up and makes me realize that even if I wasn’t born as fortunate as others, neither was I born as destitute as most.  It reminds me of a verse from Desiderata :

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. 

Just like poker, the initial hand that we’re dealt is purely by chance.  What we do with that hand though, is up to us.  I then remind myself that I am where I am based on choices that I have made.  If I want to change my situation, it is within my power.  It may be harder than if I was born with a silver spoon but neither will it be as hard had I been born dirt poor.

However, I look back at my life again and realize that I am actually happy where I am.  I have all that I need.  Sure there are a lot of nice-to-haves that I lack but it doesn’t really affect my quality of life in a major way.  Had I really wanted those things, I’ll prioritize getting them.  But those are just stuff.  Stuff that after some time will get thrown away.  Stuff that takes tons of resources to make and end up with tons of other stuff in the landfill.  In the end, we can’t bring stuff with us to the grave.

I’d rather invest in experiences, enjoying the simple things.   Having time to make bread.  Making our own play dough with the kids.  Making our own pizza.  Playing board games.  Hanging out with friends and family.  Having coffee for hours.  Enjoying conversation.

For me, these are the moments that count.  Time is the one resource that we all have.  No matter who we are, we only have 24 hours in a day.  We have to spend it the best way we know how.  Once spent, we can’t get it back.  I can only hope that when it’s time to say goodbye, I will have no regrets.

Desiderata 

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let not this blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore, be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams; it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

— Max Ehrmann, 1927

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