There were so many times I wanted to grab a bite to eat or desperately wanted a Starbucks iced tea. The most annoying part? I hardly ever buy those things but I was DESPERATE for them since I couldn’t have them. I work above a convenience store and forgot my breakfast one morning. Normally, I’d run downstairs and grab something but that option was off the table so I simply didn’t eat. As I sat at my desk, hungry and grumpy, I thought about all the folks who don’t have the funds to grab a meal out – or make a meal for that matter – and I felt a level of gratitude about my circumstances in life that I haven’t felt before.
At work, I was teased mercilessly for not spending for an entire month. I felt ridiculous. Halfway through, my co-worker whispered, “No spending is my life. I don’t get to spend in 31 days. This is how I live all the time.” His wife is pregnant. She lost her job. She’s working temp jobs for as long as possible. I went from feeling ridiculous to feeling tremendously sorry for others, and grateful for my life as it is now (which is new, I’m really good at being a pessimist).
Zig Ziglar said, “Of all the attitudes we can acquire, surely the attitude of gratitude is the most important and by far the most life-changing”. Being grateful about the money I have touches lots of other levels. I found myself profoundly grateful for my job that provides a steady paycheck and motivated me to work harder. I found myself grateful for my marriage, my family, and my kids. I wasn’t distracted creating grocery lists, running errands, or meal planning. I wasn’t buying things to make my kids ‘love me’ thanks to severe working mom guilt (new discovery - apparently I do that). I was playing with them instead. I have a husband who laughs at my weird idea to not spend money – but participates anyway and never complains.
I have so much.
I had 31 days to stop. Think. And be grateful. It encouraged me to be more generous to others. To be understanding of those who have less. To walk in their shoes.
No. I don’t have a lot of money. But I have so very much of everything else.