Friday, November 8, 2013


Wanting. We all want something. We're all waiting for something. Well, at least a lot of us. There are some of you who may be blessed with the ability to be grateful and satisfied with everything you have now. But the rest of us are always wanting for more. I find it interesting that in every phase of life, there's always something I desperately want. When I was a teenager, my overall desire was to graduate high school, never look back, find a great man, and stay at home raising our children. For the most part, I got those things. Except that I have trouble "never looking back". Now that I'm at home with three kids, I find myself wishing for the giddy surprise of those wonderful days of freedom. Ah, freedom. I digress.

When I was 12, my parents gave me $100 in spending money when I took my first solo trip to visit my grandma. I went to Toys R Us and felt like the richest kid in the world. Spending spree! The most important item on my wish list? A Tomagotchi.

When I was 17, I desperately wanted "black-girl" braids, as I called them. And so I got them. Twice. I paid a pretty penny for them, too. $400 both times, if I remember correctly.

Today I want to slap my 17 year old self in the face. "You idiot. Four hundred freaking dollars on braids that didn't even look that good?" Today, I could use that $400 to buy the matching ottoman to my sofa. Or those Tory Burch shoes I've been eyeing. Or you know. Other things that are important to me now. It seems I've always got something "important" that I need to have. And I spend my days thinking about how to get said things. 'All I have to do is book another wedding, and then I can get this, this, and this!'

And the spending begins again. If I have an extra $500, you can bet I'm going to spend it. All of it. For some reason I've developed this pathetic way of thinking that says to spend whatever I have. I know better, but I don't do it. No matter how much extra money I have, I'm going to spend it all.

During my latest conquest to get my next obsession (the aforementioned shoes), I realized that I'm always going to want something. There hasn't been a time that I didn't want something with the same intensity as everything before it. I recently read something on a blog that said it's human nature to want more than we have or can afford. That hit me. It's just part of the human experience. Another thing that hit me: the more I spend, the more I want. It's insatiable. As long as there are things to buy, there will never be an end to wanting, thus never being satisfied.

Several days ago, I was praying/thinking about what I needed to focus on in life. Should I do more with photography, exercise more, or focus on getting our house in order? Et cetera. I was kneeling in front of our bedroom window, hoping that being able to see nature would help me feel closer to heaven. It was snowing. Not hard, but in the softest way possible. Flakes were floating slowly, gently down. I watched some of them and became mesmerized. In that moment, I felt like the thing I needed to learn how to do was to find the joy in the little things. Not in "things" things, but "little" things. Think of all the books I can get lost in, art I can create, ways to bring joy into the kids' lives. An old friend mentioned that experiences were always better than things. I couldn't agree more. I may look back on those high school days with fondness, but I'm not longing for the things I had. It's the experiences and the happiness they brought that I cherish. I don't care about the Tomagotchi anymore, but I do remember the thrill of navigating the airport and flying all by myself to go hang out with my grandma who made the best meals ever. In the future, I'm not going to care about or remember many of the things I bought. I'll care about and remember the life I lived and created. I may always want things, but it's just something I need to learn to live with and accept and overcome. My new goal? To see the "little" things and find the more subtle yet lasting joy they bring.

...and maybe to change my way of thinking about money :)

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