Practising Gratitude

According to modern culture I have not succeeded in fulfilling any of societies expectations. I didn't go to university and get a diploma. My husband is the breadwinner who goes out and earns our households single wage, instead of going out to work I stay at home and nurture the children. For this reason we don't have a brand new car with personalized number plates, we have a 12 year old station wagon with powdering paint on the roof. We don't own our own home which we designed and built with all the new fittings according to the newest trends, we rented the best out of the cheapest houses we could find. The boys don't go to the hair dresser to get hair cuts, they get buzz cuts at home. I don't go to the hairdresser to keep my hair blonde, I touch up the roots at home. Our fridge is not full of deli meats, soft cheeses, gourmet olives and sun dried tomatoes or juices, flavoured milks and any other fancy things, we have tubs of yoghurt, blocks of cheese and fruit for our snacks, and meat, vegies and a carb for our dinners, we often eat leftovers from the night before. We don't have neutral coloured furniture with well placed and visually pleasing vases, coasters and bowls with interesting yet calming looking sculptures or dried sea creatures inside, all of our furniture is second hand and miss-matching... and I wouldn't change it for the world, here's why.

I feel that as a family we are wealthy.
I have absolutely loved being able to watch my children grow, to watch their plays during assembly, to be able to be there at the end of the day when the teacher tells me they need to speak to me, I have loved for my children to be able to have their friends over after school to play any day of the week, to be able to pick them up from school early if they aren't feeling well. I feel grateful for the opportunity to be able to be present with my children at any time of the day.

As a family I feel we are fortunate.
We may not have shiny new cars, we may not have a mortgage, but we are not in any debt, we simply live within our means. We are not slogging away to pay loans, it would take up most of our pay, most of our time and too many precious moments with our children. I am grateful that when things go wrong with the house we live in that we don't have to scramble to find cash for a new boiler, or roof repair, or new sewer line, or a major water leak. The owners here take care of it and they collect the money back in tax later down the track. We just have savings for bond and car repairs or in the worst case scenario, another car, and we wont have to pay the bank a single cent as we wont be paying any interest or be bound to any contracts in regard to money borrowed and money owed.

As a family I feel that we are healthy.
We don't get to eat all the fancy, rich, salty, meaty, greasy fast and easy things I see in a lot of other families fridges, we mostly eat fruit and vegies as our snack, and not because we are obnoxious health nuts and are making better decisions, but because a pack of 20 carrots costs 98c, 10 apples costs $2.00, the same as mandarins, and they don't go nuts and gobble them all up like the 20 packets of chips in a box which they seem to inhale in less than a day, the same goes for biscuits and muesli bars.

As a family I feel we are relaxed.
We don't have nice matching furniture with nice visual aids, for us with the three boys that is just an unrealistic expectation. The amount of things which have had a big dinosaur mural drawn on it, or been scratched or chipped in the two minutes I was in the toilet or hanging out the washing, it wasn't a big deal because it didn't cost us hundreds of dollars so it's ok to use gumption on it. Because it is just a phase and because they are just learning how their toys impact on the objects and surfaces around them then we can wait a few years before we do decide to have nice things, but for now it isn't a big deal or a worry, and we're not in a hurry for our kids to grow up.

Now, I'm not saying that the way we live is better than the way you may live by any means, I think we are all just a bunch of human beings doing our own things how we want to, in life we all weigh up our own pros and cons and live our lives according to the choices we made, what is right for me may not be right for you. I do think that we are responsible for, and can create our own happiness and the best way to do this is to practise gratitude.

Gratitude makes you happier, it makes you more optimistic which encourages people to enjoy your company more which in turn leads to deeper friendships. It reduces your stress which makes you healthier. It helps you sleep better and boosts your brain power which is also good for your career and day to day functioning. It makes you feel better about yourself, boosting your self esteem and helping you become less emotionally fragile. Gratitude is one of the best, cheapest, easiest and one of the most effective things you can do to increase your happiness.

I have designed a beautiful range of post it notes to make it easy to remember and makes it more fun or ritualistic while practicing gratitude and you can find them below! Simply write on a page the reason why you are grateful and pop it onto a wall, stick it in a journal or into a box, ready to read again at a later date when you are feeling down and need a pick me up.

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  1. I 100% agree with these sentiments and am exactly the same way. Feeling VERY blessed for everything. I grew up without an indoor loo till I was 13, and no heating aside from one gas fire and no hot water aside from 2hrs a week and so on. So for me, things many take for granted such as central heating and hot water 'on tap' (see what I did there ;) ) are luxuries! I find if we learn to really appreciate and love the things that in life are free, we really do find these are the best things and that's the message I am trying to share with my kids. Life is about accumulating great memories not about accumulating 'things'. That's my philosophy.

    1. Such a beautiful and touching comment Leah! People who haven't had as much as others in life I personally have found to be the wisest, most compassionate people and are also more down to earth when it comes down to what you really need in life, because when you don't have anything material you are literally just left with the adventure of life, you get into a habit of not being distracted by shiny things along the way!

  2. You have a wonderful attitude to life and that's the key to enjoying it. I admire your choices and lifestyle, and your values are what your children will learn....that's an amazing gift to pass on to them.

    1. Thank You Carolyn! I just want my boys to be happy, that is my wish for them in life, and if they can find happiness from within they wont need to find it from things.

  3. You have the right outlook on life. Family and health matter so much more than personal possessions and the latest trends. Here in the UK we are fortunate that there are many schemes in which we can afford heating and plumbing repairs. Like you, if we rent a property, the landlord will cover it. Keep doing what you're doing!

    Wilfred Andrews @ LB Plumbing and Heating

    1. Thank you Wilfred for you gorgeous comment!

  4. I feel that you live your life in a very positive way that mirrors my own. At the moment, we are trying an experiment to see if we can live for the whole year without spending any money on anything other than essentials. Our kids had so many toys we were literally giving stuff away anyway!

    Lovella Cushman @ Perfection Plumbing

    1. That's awesome Lovella! I found de-cluttering and simplifying is very calming. It makes everything much less complicated from cleaning, to organizing, you spend less time doing the same things every day, more time with family and if you're lucky you get a little more free time when the kids are busy or at school.


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