I know my thoughts on Thanksgiving are a bit belated. I was enjoying my turkey and gravy, okay? But this Thanksgiving holiday really left me pondering long after the tryptophan had settled into my digestive system, and I’d like to just record here a few of the thoughts I had over the break.
I don’t know really know when the pondering all started–maybe it was while Matt and I were trying to decide how to divide up the holiday or when my family was going around the table at dinner and saying one thing we were all thankful for. I do, however, know when the pondering started to stir me enough inside to make me want to change a few things: church. As I sat in sacrament meeting and listened to a woman share about how she associated gratitude with adversity but also with hope and how she was grateful for all she had even though she had just lost a newborn baby just a few months ago, I felt the familiar realization that I have been altogether too selfish and too focused on the wrong things in life.
I started to think of all the scriptures I could on gratitude and for some reason, the one that kept coming up over and over again was, “Thou shalt not covet.” An odd coincidence maybe, but I don’t think so. I don’t know what it is exactly, but ever since getting home from my mission, I’ve had a serious case of the comparison crazies–because I didn’t know exactly how to assimilate myself back into the American culture, I started to compare myself to others to remember my social cues and what was expected of me. The problem was, the comparison never seemed to stop. In fact, I’d say it just made things a lot worse. Whereas on my mission, I was content with the bare minimum in clothing, food, and technology, it seemed like upon arriving back in the States, all I could think about were all the things I lacked from being gone for so long. Sure, I always knew that I had gained much more than I had lost, but I still couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that I needed to play catch-up with the rest of the nation. I started following blogs like crazy, which ended up being a double-edged sword: I was inspired to update my own blog and record my own thoughts, but I was also sucked into the mindset that I always needed to get MORE: more clothes, more lipstick, more DIY craft supplies for the house. And even with a bulging closet of clothes and an apartment more stuffed than a turkey, I still couldn’t rid myself of the mindset that it wasn’t enough.
Then the roach spraying incident happened.
I was forced to take out all of our worldly possessions and pile them in the center of the floor for the whole world to see–I felt that my own material worldliness had been exposed. That combined with the feelings of gratitude that usually accompany Thanksgiving made something click within my head, and I realized:
I don’t need to be on the cutting edge of trends.
I don’t need to be as beautiful as, or as skinny as, or as well-dressed as, or as crafty as anyone else.
I just need to be me.
It will be a long process to rid myself of this comparison compulsion I’ve somehow gotten myself into. But I’ve at least gotten a headstart: I stopped following a lot of the blogs that were making me feel like I wasn’t “enough” and have started to de-clutter my apartment and my head. I’ve started to make myself concentrate more on what I already have than on what I lack.
And you know what?
I feel happier than I have in months.
Here’s to simplifying!
Here’s to being grateful!
Here’s to realizing that however much I have, it is enough.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!