Being Happy With What You Have

Do you ever wonder what you would do if you suddenly came into an insane amount of money? If so, do you ever dream of what you would do with it all? During many of our porch-sitting sessions, the Crankee Yankee and I have talked over our drinks about this very subject. We always seem to go first to family, friends and neighbors; what we could do to help them with whatever it is they might need. Then we talk about anonymous endowments and gifts we would love to set up and how much fun that would be. No one would ever know, and we would be cackling about it forever.

If you are around my age (or ‘vintage’ as I like to call it), you will remember a show called “The Millionaire.” The premise of the series was that a millionaire anonymously and randomly would gift total strangers with a million dollar check. It starred Marvin Miller, who played the handsome stranger, Michael Anthony, who showed up at the door and handed the person their check. The show ran from 1955 to 1960, and the running joke at that time was ‘so, has Michael Anthony knocked on your door yet?’

No doubt, having an unexpected windfall could be a lot of fun. However, focusing on what we don’t have can make people pretty sour, too. You can get into a state of mind where you focus on the ‘don’t have’ instead of appreciating the ‘do have.’

Think about this: being happy with what you have means freedom and happiness. I read somewhere that common worries can be turned around with the right thinking, such as:

  • “Oh no! There are crumbs on the floor!” you were able to eat that day.
  • “The roof is leaking again!” you have a roof over your head.
  • “My shoes are wearing out!” you have shoes on your feet.
  • “The bed has been unmade all day!” you have a bed to sleep in.
  • “The water pressure in the shower is horrible!” you have means to keep clean.
  • “The car is filthy!” you have transportation.
  • “My job doesn’t pay enough.” but you have a job.

…and so on. Remember that lovely old song by Irving Berlin, “Count Your Blessings?” The lyrics go like this:

“When I’m worried and I can’t sleep
I count my blessing instead of sheep
And I fall asleep, counting my blessings

When my bankroll is gettin’ small
I think of when I had none at all
And I fall asleep, counting my blessings

I think about a nursery
And I picture curly heads
And one by one I count them
As they slumber in their beds

If you’re worried and you can’t sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.

So if you’re worried and you can’t sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.”

That’s what I think of each day. I have had wonderful people in my life who have passed on their wisdom and knowledge to me. I currently have wonderful people in my life who bring me joy and happiness. I am married to the love of my life. I have dear, good friends who bring so much into my life. I have four cats to love and care for. Both the Crankee Yankee and I have been gifted with two wonderful vehicles (how’s that for unexpected wealth?) for which we are very grateful, we have a good house to live in, a thriving garden (anyone need lettuce, spinach or kale? We have TONS of it!), food to eat, clothes to wear, some bucks in our pockets and no credit card debt. Our health is relatively good, and we have a sense of humor about many things.

That said, I feel rich each day. With all that going for me, I don’t need to think about what I might not have. The Penn Dutch have a great saying that just says it all to me: “we grow too soon old, and too late smart.” I try to keep that in mind when little things bother me.

It’s taken me years, but I finally get it—I am happy for what I have.



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