Saturday, January 21, 2012

Warning: Complacency Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

For a modern-day object lesson, first listen to this from the Rolling Stones:

"19th Nervous Breakdown":

And then this:

"You Can't Always Get What You Want":

Much has been written about how greed is at the basis of our current economic mess. Okay, I'll grant you that -- for awhile, we became spoiled brats, feeling we were not only entitled to, but dammit, we needed a second or third house, or that luxury vehicle, or that boat that only ended up under a tarp in the garage after a time or two on the lake. I'll fess up, I once had a rather long "gotta have this" list. Once I let go of a lot of these internalized demands, it freed me to be able to enjoy what I actually have.

I'd like to suggest that, for those of us (me included) who have been fortunate enough to weather, more or less, the current economic storms, that it's complacency we need to look at. Many of us boomers are realizing that our list of absolute "needs" are pretty damned short, and our "wants" are mercifully negotiable.
As I'm getting older, I'm more personally aware of the benefits of gratitude.

I live in a 1923 house which needs some remodeling and upgrading. These projects are not vital, but they are feasible, and will be done eventually. As trite as it sounds, the fact that the roof is sound, and this has been our family homestead since 1964, is my daily prayer of thanksgiving and humility.

I have work that I love to do, even on days when it's challenging and even sometimes heartbreaking.

My relatives sometimes perplex and irritate me, but their mine, and yes, I love them. Period, no debate.

Ditto all my friends.

At 57, I have pretty good health. And it's getting better, now that I'm steadily losing the excess weight.

So, I want to say that thanksgiving is something I will consciously do on a daily basis, not just on that one gluttonous day in November. Counting blessings doesn't have to be only a spiritual exercise; it's a sound practice for mental health.

Complacency is the antithesis of gratitude. And it fades away when I look around, and take stock of how very lucky I've always been.

Love and blessings to everyone this day, and always.

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