When I was a kid, my mother used to make me clothes. I hated that – because what I wanted was to have new clothes with the trendy labels that would earn me coolness points at school. What size fortune would I have to pay now if I wanted clothes made to measure? I had a mother who could sew, and who was capable of taking a piece of fabric and turning it into a dress or a skirt that fitted me perfectly, but I wasn’t grateful for that, I was too busy comparing myself to the other kids at school and envying them, because their families were wealthier and they could have jeans with the right label.
So much that I had then, I know plenty of other kids didn’t have – but I compared myself with those who were at school with me, not with those semi-mythical children we were told about in distant foreign countries who were starving and therefore we should finish what’s on our plate.
Nor was I interested in my mum comparing what I had with the little she’d had when she was a kid.
And now – I’m an adult, and I’m living in an era in which the poverty and misery of others in distant countries feels a lot less mythical. Through TV and the Internet, you get to see those lives up close. But still – you just become desensitised in a way, through so much exposure. Now and again a particular story stops you in your tracks and moves you to tears (well, I know this happens to me) but most of the time, you just can’t keep thinking about all that – it’s too much, too big.
And I think I still have the tendency to look more at what I don’t have than at what I do have. I need to work on this. It’s not healthy. I really have so much!
It’s not like I’m one of these super greedy people who will do anything to get their hands on more money. I don’t think I’ve ever been particularly like that, not even in the days when I was still part of the rat race, before the day I quit my job and my boss said to me: I’d offer you a pay rise to persuade you to stay, but I know that won’t help, that’s not what you want, is it? And I said: no, you’re right, I want more than just money.
So I’m not running around (on that giant hamster wheel) trying to get my hands on lots of money. But I recognise that even though I’ve totally let go of that, I have not reached true contentment. I am not one of those amazing people who can look at the full half of their glass and be thankful all the time for everything they have. I need to work on that. Because, you know, I really do have so much.
end of ramble.