At the end of every party, someone usually cries, fights or has a complete meltdown. It happens almost every time. My son’s 5th birthday was no different. There were a few tears here and there. A quick little argument between two girls about who would sit by the birthday boy. (he is adorable you know) And then there was the meltdown after the party was over. (nobody wants to leave a bouncy house)
I think the same could be said about the economy. Most Americans have enjoyed these prosperous years. There seemed to be plenty of jobs, real estate was solid and Wall Street was a good thing not a dirty word. But the party is over. And some folks are crying, fighting and having meltdowns.
People bought homes they couldn’t afford, racked up credit card debt and lived way beyond their means. Now they’re throwing a temper tantrum because they can’t have what they want.
Yes, we’re grownups but many of us still act like children. I can be one of them at times. I know I need to be reserved in this economy, but there’s a part of me that silently screams: “I want it, I need it, I really gotta have it.”
But wait a minute. Am I not the mother who tells her children to be happy with what they’ve got? Yes. That’s me.
In fact, that same phrase flew out of my mouth after my son opened nearly 20 birthday gifts from friends. He was thrilled with every rip and tug of the wrapping paper. He was enjoying himself so much I can honestly say he exclaimed “Look what they got me! I never knew I always wanted this!”
And bam! That phrase woke up the former broke girl in me. I stood there looking at all of the generous gifts, the piles of wrapping paper and started to worry that maybe my son would have a skewed sense of reality.
About that time he said.
“Is that it?” “Can I please open one more gift?”
“No!” I say. “That’s it” “Be happy with what you’ve got!”
Now most kids would throw a fit and stomp their feet at this point. But surprisingly he didn’t. He just said “Ok.” And then insisted that I get some double “A” batteries so he could fire up a robot.
He’s a good kid. A sweet boy. He just loves getting toys. Anything really. You could wrap up a pine cone as a gift and he would still be excited.
Grownups love the thrill of getting something new too. It’s just human nature. We NEED the basics. But we WANT a lot of things. And our “toys” just happen to be a little more expensive.
I didn’t have much when I was broke. But at least it was mine. And I had a few friends and family that would’ve crawled through glass just to help me. And that was really all I needed.
So my former broke girl has a challenge for you. Just look around. Just stand in a room, take a moment and look around. Look at your family and friends. Catalog all of the important things in your life.
Maybe times are tuff right now and you’re really not sure how this party is going to end. You may not have a job, a home or savings. But STOP looking at all of the things you don’t have… And just be happy with what you’ve got.
There’s plenty of “good stuff” if you look hard enough.