A Lesson in Gratefulness

I grew up poor. 

I grew up not being able to have the ideal lifestyle. I owned one orange sweater that I wore to school everyday during winter.

The kids called me pumpkin every single day of grade 3. To be fair, I was fat and wearing orange. 

Kids are cruel.

My parents were immigrants. They didn't have much, but they tried to give me everything I wanted.

But something always felt short.

I've been dreaming about beautiful cars and mansions since I was younger. I've always desired the biggest and best.

This past week I had the opportunity to see multi-million dollar houses (from the outside). Massive French villas surrounded by iron gates and more security than a bank. 

I stood there in complete dismay. This tiny man in front of three story houses, multiple garages and cars so expensive I could pay my rent for a lifetime.

As much as I chase that lifestyle, when I was standing there, I didn't desire it all it. 

I wanted the mansions and the fastest cars when I was younger, when confronted, I felt sick. Seeing what I desired for so long put a pit in my stomach. 

I don't know when I changed; I couldn't live with my conscious in a mansion knowing that people around the world are hungry and homeless.

I immediately started feeling extremely grateful. Grateful for all that I have and my circumstances. I am the minority (and since you're reading this, you are too). The minority being able to afford food, water, and shelter. To have access to the Internet where I can spread my message.

I learned a valuable lesson. Big houses and fancy cars will never be enough if you are not grateful RIGHT NOW. If what you have now doesn't satisfy you, nothing will. 

Waiting and working for better circumstances won't bring better circumstances, only more waiting and working.

But when we stop and stare at what we have we can begin to appreciate everything that we are surrounded by. Even if we have only a little food or a small television, at least we have some food and a television that most crave. 

When we are continually grateful for what we have, the more we get, the more we can be grateful. This cycle sounds like a happier cycle than I once had–having lots, wanting more, getting more and then craving more.

I’m still relatively poor. I won't be able to afford those mansions now and maybe not even in the distant future. Am I upset? The old me would be.

Now, I'm happy (and grateful).