I spent my first third, from infancy to 35, wanting more. I used to have this card with a terribly grouchy-looking man on it, touting the virtue of dissatisfaction as inspiration and motivation. I used to have a million things I wanted to do, including running for office. I had so much to say, and places to go, and stuff I wanted: new and old stuff; beautiful and functional stuff; all sorts of stuff. But when Thanksgiving rolled around, I was always most thankful for the same handful of blessings, such as Jodi and my children, my parents and my sister, her kids and my in-laws and friends. All the stuff I wanted so badly over the course of the previous year wouldn’t even come to mind.
Over the course of the past summer and fall, we’ve been purging. Even the kids got into the swing of things, getting rid of toys and books, throwing out old drawings and lesser “keepsakes.” When they started asked about an xBox to replace the old PS2, I got them to agree to trade-in the PS2, all the games, controllers, accessories, and most of our PC games, plus put their own money toward the new system (even Trevvy). Jodi and I agreed to pay the balance, but that this would be our Christmas present to the kids this year (even though it was early autumn). They agreed with little hesitation. I hope they’ve begun to realize, too, that having it all is too much.
That may be wishful thinking, and I’m not perfect: on my birthday, Jodi agreed that I “could use” a new pair of brown casual shoes to replace my current, incessantly squeaking (albeit perfectly functional) pair. We went to the shoes store, I found a pair of Doc Martens, tried them on, and bought them. As soon as we got in the car, I felt horrible, and all the way home, I debated taking them back. A week later, after putting them on two or three more times on the carpet, I did just that. And felt good about it.
I’m thankful this year for all the usual things, plus two: the ability to get the stuff we need, or even the stuff we want, sometimes, and the sense to know when enough is enough.