28 October 2008

An Abundance of Riches

I'm writing this post in response to Amy's post here.

She writes:
It makes me wonder (and I don't KNOW - these are ONLY my own thoughts) if life really IS so expensive? Or is our over-advertised, over-privileged, over-expected, over-processed American lifestyle inspiring us to feel 'poor' instead of blessed and abundant?

It's a great thought. Yes, there are some days we feel poor. There are many wonderful expensive luxurious things one might do in the world. Travel. Collect something fabulous. See all the best shows. Make some major upgrades to the house.

But what do I, personally, most need to feel happy? A little food. Potatoes are my main comfort food -- give me those good ol' time carbohydrates. Hot tea is my beverage of choice. Games are good. Yarn to knit with. Books to read. A few favorite movies. Some good music. Clothes that make me feel like me. My zippy sippy so I can get around. And, of course, my big Cuddly Hubby, my critters, and good friends. After all, how am I going to play the games without someone to give me the competition?

In the final analysis, none of these (except the critters) are terribly expensive. My zippy sippy cost about $17,000 brand new & tricked out, and that is a very good price for a car these days. I buy a new outfit maybe once or twice a year -- if I've spent $2000 in a year on clothes & shoes, then I was really indulging. Then again, my weight has blessedly been very stable. And I tend not to be too hard on clothes. I have many, many games and could spend a lifetime just getting good at the ones I already have. I have a stack of books I'd like to read, and some on the shelves that wouldn't be so bad the second time around. I have lots of cds, although there always seems to be more to explore in the world of music. I fill up the tea stash a couple times a year -- that's between $100 to $200 for a whole year of drinking at least one cup a day and several in the cooler months. It is much less expensive to be a tea aficionado than a wine aficionado.

Right now, I have over 150 separate items in my stash on Ravelry. That's name of yarn and colorway -- some of these items have multiple skeins of yarn associated with them. I could conceivably knit and design in peace for several years without ever having to leave the house. And I have a wonderful library of knitting books. Now are there some ideas I have that would require new purchases? Yes. But there are also lots of wonderful things I could do with what I already have.

I guess my point is that I agree with Amy's implication. Sometimes we have to stop and look around at what we have instead of what we don't have. My home isn't perfect, but it works pretty well. I am surrounded by people I love and critters I love and the few objects I require to pursue the activities I enjoy.

A couple weeks ago, the Cuddly Hubby and I had a date night. He brought home McDonald's food. We watched the pilot episode to Chuck, which I had seen but he hadn't. And we had a really nice evening. We connected over something we both enjoy, just like way back when we met in college. In some ways, it was a better night than our anniversary, when we went out for an expensive dinner in Buckhead. The focus wasn't on the fancy food, it was on just enjoying each other's company.

So, as the holidays come and it is tempting to throw good fiscal sense to the wind, remember that the number of dollars spent is not a measure of how much you love somebody. And remember that it is good to be grateful, and good to give back. You never know when you will be deprived of the opportunity to do so.

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