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.