August 18, 2011

The Appreciation Formula (Day 27 - August 18, 2011)

"The Office"
So, this morning, I'm lying in "bed" (my sleeping bag) trying to convince myself that I should get out from my warm cocoon and start the day.  The fact that I wasn't leaping for the door meant that my bladder was still asleep, for which I was immensely grateful. Actually, I found myself being grateful for a lot of things . . . for my tent keeping me dry through the rain last night . . . for my sleeping bag, blanket, and hoodie all working in tandem to keep me insulated from the cool nights . . . for having a good night even though it was one of the coldest yet ( . . . maybe I'm getting used to it?).  And then my eyes fell upon two of my most prized possessions . . . my rickety lawn chair and my 1970's style TV tray.  I smile.

To most, my chair and TV tray would be junk.  In fact, they were somebody's junk.  The rickety lawn chair is disintegrating at this very moment (the old bands of material being dry and crumbly . . . leaving little white bits on the floor of the tent), but thankfully has received a little TLC with some reinforcement bands added more recently.  It was given to me by a kind soul concerned for my well being.  As for the 1970's style TV tray, I purchased it at the local Thrift Store. (see Thrift Store Virgin)  It has a few stains, but is fairly sturdy . . . not sure I would want to eat off it though.  However, to me these two items represent the ability to work upright, saving my back from excruciating pain, and add a little "professionalism" to my operation.  I love them!

It occurs to me that I have never had so much appreciation for stuff until I had very little stuff.  That somehow seems logical and yet counter intuitive at the same time.  While I can certainly understand appreciating the few things I have quite a bit, it seems odd that I appreciate more when I have less.  One might have thought that the more you have to be appreciative about, the more you would appreciate.  Not so . . . at least not in my case.  I think people with lots of stuff appreciate things, but not to the same high degree as those who have very little.  In fact, I suggest, the more someone has the more likely they may take a lot of things for granted.  Things that many people would gladly give up their eye teeth to have.

So what does this teach me today?  Lots of things!  First, life is good when you appreciate what you have . . . and so if you have lots then take the time to truly be grateful and appreciative.  Second, it doesn't take much to make a huge difference in someone's life who has very little.  We see the disparity between the standard of living in the West and those who live in poverty, and we can get trapped thinking it would take so much to bring them "up to us".  Perhaps ideally those without will eventually have a good standard of living, but for right now let's simply focus on meeting basic rights and getting people out of poverty . . . and for that it takes relatively little compared to what we have.  And, third, things don't need to be pretty and perfect to be loved.  Same things goes for people, too.

I'd love to hear from you.  What do you think about the above?  What sorts of things do you take for granted?  How might we develop an "attitude of gratitude"?


Hey!!  I'm That Poverty Guy . . . let's make a world of difference together.

Click here to see WACHOOKANDU. (recently revised)


  1. i think if everyone spent even one hour noting everything they did..and would shock them what they used to accomplish life as we know it for merely an hour.
    but it certainly would be a great short project to do today!!! then see what you could live without and what you couldn't! i fear some of us would think to deny ourselves anything on our list would cause us suffering...but we understand "suffering"? i think not....until a post like this makes it clear how blessed we are..and perhaps we should share our wealth!!!!!!!

  2. I swear that you have the tv tables that your grandparents owned when I was a kid. Actually Mom used them for decades perhaps until she died and perhaps you even saw them. They were good tables. When your grandma chose to go live in a senior's residence she had to make her whole life's belongings be narrowed down to what would fit in a 10'x 14' room. She had to pick out her favorite things and that was hard. But then she was surrounded by items all of which had a memory attached to. She appreciated that room of objects like no other house she had lived in.
    Love ya!

  3. Sean D. Krausert, EditorAugust 19, 2011 at 4:26 PM

    Thanks to both of you for these comments. Can you imagine a world where everyone appreciated what they have? It would be an advertising nightmare since they rely a lot on created a sense of being unsatisfied unless Joe Public bits their product. But seriously it would be a very much lighter world.