Since my birthday always falls around or on Thanksgiving, I am often in a celebratory spirit of gratitude around this time. Yet this year, I don’t recall expressing thanks at all for my many blessings. Maybe it was because it was my first year to host a handful of friends and was feeling the pressure. Or perhaps I have grown complacent in my giving thanks habits. Regardless, I am sitting here two days later and finally have a moment to relax and do what I love. Write, reminisce and reflect. (Those are my 3 R’s).
I watched Sex and the City II yesterday and I scoffed so easily at the four trend wearing, money hungry women who wine and dine in the city while they “find themselves.” I’ll admit, the TV show had some pretty genuine moments in which I felt inspired to “find myself” as well. The movie on the other hand was a bit contrived…a hallmark card reflecting truths about life in all too perfect (and entirely unrealistic) scenarios.
Carrie who went from rags to riches by acting “like a man” at times and being true to herself finally gets her “dream life.” With two apartments (one being a penthouse) and a closet that is bigger than most people’s bedrooms, she finds herself discontented and searching for meaning again. Charlotte, a woman with no job and a full time nanny can’t deal with the idea that her “dream life” isn’t as fulfilling as she had hoped and finds herself locked in a closet and crying. Samantha, the sexual powerhouse that she is, finds herself victim to age and menopause (one of the biggest threats to our Cougar population in the United States). Miranda is simply Miranda. Trying to be culturally sensitive while she downs cocktails because she too is disappointed. I think I might relate to her the most.
This morning, I found myself standing in my bathroom crying. Discontented because my day had not fallen into place as I had hoped. Counting my disappointments and putting them on the shelf next to the others in my brain. Then I looked in the mirror and realized that I might be just as flawed as the women of Sex and the City. I’ve coined the flaw as chronic disappointment syndrome (CDS). I am an incredibly fortunate woman. Yet something about our world (is it just America?) indoctrinates me to think I need more. That the beautiful things that we have are not enough.
My husband just built me a beautiful kitchen. A place where I can create and build memories. A place where I can make my morning tea and look out the window at a crab apple tree, like the one I used to climb as a kid. He built the kitchen with his two rough hands and the sweat from his brow. This is an amazing gift, one that could not be packaged in the store.
Many people have wished me a good day today, people who have crossed my path and those still lingering near. My best friend and life partner squeezed me tight this morning, reminding me how lucky I am. I have warm clothes, a good job, food in the kitchen and family and friends that surround me with love. I do have a dream life. It’s not the penthouse apartment or Gucci shoes kind of dream life (I wouldn’t want that anyway). But it’s beautiful and I’m thankful today.
So how do I deal with CDS? Though I am out of the habit of prayer, I feel that giving conscious daily thanks is key. It’s reprogramming our minds to remember simplicity and contentment instead of wanting more. But not for appearances sake and having just the right status for Facebook. It’s not a new trend rather, it’s an age-old practice of humility and gratitude that has been a life line to enjoyment of this world and the people in it. I’m committed to kicking this CDS in the ass, how about you?
© 2010 D Willson