i just got an email with the subject line: “choosing happiness for 25% off.” i’m assuming it was an ad for a book or some other motivational keepsake being promoted by mama oprah. yes, i call her mama oprah because she has such a nurturing and giving spirit. she just looks like she would embrace you and love on you and affirm you if you were in her presence. that may or may not be true. i was lucky enough to interview her on the red carpet once and i thought i was going to faint when she touched me. mama oprah touched me! she’s magic ya’ll!
i admit to immediately deleting that email, but it made me think about the ways we commodify everything, including happiness. would we choose happiness or gratitude or peace or contentment if it were something we could pick up at the local shopping center? would we get extra if it were a buy one get one half off deal? would we mix and match to make our set complete if the price was right? would we stock up to hand it out as gifts during the holidays or just because?
we live in a world where you can buy and sell anything. that realization sometimes makes me sad. we like to think some things just aren’t for sale. but when you search the internet you can buy it all – goods, services, people. i am a consumer. it is impossible not to be when you exist in a capitalist world. it is natural to pay for things that are both man-created and provided naturally by god. just think about the amount of money you spend buying water – a resource we can’t even create on our own and that was freely given to us in abundance. we found a way to charge for it and deny it to those who can’t afford it often as a means of control, punishment, and humiliation.
we buy new clothes each season, not because we’ve outgrown them or even because of seasonal weather changes. it’s usually just because we want the latest styles and colors. we get new cars as soon as we paid off the previous ones. we buy bigger houses even though we don’t really need the space, we just want it. we buy gadgets for every member of our family and every room of our house. we buy food only to throw it away because we had too much to consume. we buy and buy and buy.
there has been a movement lately to simplify and stop buying. i probably fall somewhere in the middle of embracing it because i do want to be more intentional about what i buy and how often. some days i just want those shoes because they make my legs look amazing, or i want that jacket because it pulls my look together, or i want to upgrade my gadgets because i want the latest features available. i am a consumer and everything is for sale.
if everything is for sale, maybe i need to make my own shopping list for the things i‘m running short on lately. not the commodities so readily available at the mall. i need to construct my list for those character things i’m running low on. yes, i have my own issues with greed and pride and self-centeredness! i don’t care if they are on sale or not, i recognize that i would be a better me if i make it a priority to add them to my cart.
i have road rage. i’ve always been annoyed by other drivers. living in seattle where people seem unable to drive in rain or sunshine, merge onto highways, move their cars off the road following an accident, or make turns from the appropriate turning lane has made me a chronic horn user. i am a fan of the long horn in particular. i have zero patience for seattle drivers. i need to stock up on patience.
as we move deeper into the fall season, i find myself less motivated to be productive. the days are short, the sky is gray, and the rain takes up permanent residence above the city of seattle. it makes leaving the house less desireable and laying on my couch wrapped up in my superman snuggie more appealing. i have some pressing deadlines and big projects to knock out before the year ends, but i am not always diligent in getting things done. i could use an entire shopping cart of this stuff if i’m going to do what i know must be done.
this is an interesting item to add because i am not always sure i understand the impact of grace in my life. i am incredibly hard on myself. i have high standards and i push myself to do great things. i thrive on delivering, too. but when i don’t meet my expectations i don’t always extend grace to myself. i recognize i’m not perfect and yet i expect perfection. there is no logic in that. at the same time, i accept that grace isn’t logical either. i need enough grace to extend both myself and others.
i’m ultra competitive and i can be the queen of talking shit just for the fun of it. but there are times when my competitive spirit prevents me from seeing when it’s time to elevate others to shine. there is nothing wrong with being a rock star, but there is everything wrong with not being able to share the stage when it’s required. i have noticed moments recently when i should have taken a step back in order to develop someone else’s skills and confidence and i was slow in making that adjustment. it is a reminder that operating in humility means knowing you don’t have to steer the ship in order for it to make it safely to harbor.
i am not a risky person, however, i’m a believer in taking calculated risks. every time i’ve taken a calculated risk i’ve experienced great rewards, sometimes years or decades later. i desire to live an adventurous life, but i realize how safe i’ve been playing things lately. i’m comfortable. there is nothing wrong with being comfortable. we all need a break to rest. i have this overwhelming sense that my season of rest is over. i feel something big stirring and it excites me and frightens me some days. isn’t that what adventure is all about?
as my birthday approaches i want to be mindful to show my gratitude for all the things that are present in my life as opposed to amplifying the things that are missing. that can be hard sometimes. we live in a world that encourages constant comparisons. the older i have gotten the more i have embraced my marvelously and wonderfully made self. i do think i’m pretty dope. i make no apologies about that. and even as i recognize the absence of things in my life, i want to be overcome with joy for the abundance of things present. there is no need to compare where there is no competition. gratitude keeps me grounded in that truth.