Sunday, November 28, 2010

A time out, of sorts

In the midst of everything, and I'm talking everything -commercialism, schedules, keeping-up-with-the-Jones, the holidays, finances, family, plans- in the midst of all this, I sometimes forget to take a breath, slow down, and think.

It's so easy for me to fall into my little pity parties, little moments of unhappiness that come so frequently and so subtly that I don't even recognize them for what they are.

I find myself thinking that maybe all I need to be happy is this one more thing, to make it to just the next milestone, to get to that next place in my life.

I mean, everyone else has a smart phone, a DSLR, a laptop. All it would take is a car with paint on it, a bigger kitchen, more storage, a new table, a bathtub that's not blue. The list goes on. If only I had this, that, or the other, then I could be happy.

All I need is to make it until I'm done with residency and then I can be happy. All I need is to make more money, and then I'll be happy. All I need is for my student loans to be paid off and then I can start being happy. All I need is to find a job after residency and finally, I can be happy. All I need is one more baby, and then, we can all just be happy.

These thoughts come and go with such frequency I hardly notice them and the accompanying emotions of unhappiness and discontent.

This Thanksgiving, I was missing my family so much that I started to fall into the little well of misery. Those little thoughts of "If only..." were there. If only I had a better job that I didn't work so much and had time to go to Utah. If only I had more money so I could afford to go to Utah. If only...And then I stopped. I stepped back and took a time-out of sorts.

I have a job.

I have a family.

I have family and friends to spend the holiday with.

After all, not everyone has a nice car or the latest electronic gadget. I get so weighed down by what "everyone else" has that I forget that it's not everyone else. It's not even mostly everyone. It's the few and the fortunate, a group that, even without all the shiny accessories, I belong to.

I'm not waiting until after residency to be happy. I will start being content now. After all, we have a roof over our heads, food on the table, and love in our home, blessings that too many go without on a daily basis.

I'm embarrassed by how easily I get caught up in the shallowness of it all. Maybe what I actually need is the same thing my boys sometimes need - a time out. Time to stop, think about what I'm doing wrong, and how to fix it.

This weekend has been a good time out. As this next huge holiday rush comes up, and I feel those moments of "If only I could afford this" and "Why can I just have that," I'm hoping that I can remember to stop, step back, and remember, I have what I need.

Now is a good time to start being happy.


  1. Great post! I think my hubby struggles with this more than I. I try to remind him to be thankful for what he has and live in the present but he still sees where he is not instead of what he has accomplished. Hard stuff!

  2. I have a stereo that is 20 years old and a car that is 11 years old. But they both still work. I don't have an Ipod, Blu-Ray or a DSLR.

    I do have friends that I've known for 20+ years, a loving family and a great boyfriend.

    I'm happy.

  3. I second this post. It really is so hard. The only one I stand by is that if I had a maid I would be happy! Okay kidding (sorta) It is a good thing I did the 30 days of thank you this last month or I think I would have died. It was a challenge sometimes to sit down to facebook each night and try and think of something I was thankful for that day. Trying to find something every day to be thankful for really helped me put a positive spin on the worst days. Now is a great time to be happy.

  4. Great post and a good reminder to stop looking around at everyone else and focus on all that I have.

  5. There is a lot of wisdom in this post. I think it's human nature to strive for more and yearn for the next milestone in our lives, but slowing down and taking stock of all that we do have is good advice. Especially at this over commercialized, materialistic time of year. Kudos!

  6. I love that not only are you a cup half full person, but a cup running over one too! Miss you too!!!!