Saturday, December 22, 2018

Enough is as good as a feast.

This is an old English proverb, and I know Mary Poppins was not the originator. HOWEVER, she's where I heard it first, and this is my blog, so we're going with it.

Those of you who know me know I love Mary Poppins (and I cannot, for the life of me, fathom why Disney needed to make the new one, except that Disney is a soul-sucking money-hungry monster of a corporation. A new Swiss Family Robinson would surely have been better, right? Why mess with perfection? OPINIONS.). And this is one of those lines that sticks out to me because I've never heard it said elsewhere. I chalk that up to being both a millennial and an American, and enough is never enough. 

I have to preface this by saying: my parents are good Catholics and taught us, of course, that physical things don't matter. They give generously (like, really generously), and have always encouraged me and my brother to do the same. 

Despite that, I grew up alongside people who didn't share these values. I went to private schools with other middle-upper class, predominantly white, and all Protestant kids. An 80's-born 90's child, I was taught the goal was to go as high as you can (get A's in school, go to college, get multiple degrees, get a house, get a bigger house, etc.). Accumulation of stuff was not the end-all-be-all, but it was a sign of your success. 

And the big-wigs in charge have made it so more is financially smarter. It's a better deal to get the value meal even though nobody on earth except triathletes needs that many calories per meal. It's not about eating enough, it's about getting your money's worth. Buying stuff on sale means you can get more which means it's better. Spend this much, get that much for free. Never mind the fact that we need for nothing, our closets are stuffed, and our garages, attics, and storage units are full to bursting with THINGS. It's not enough. Get more. It makes sense to do it.

I struggle with this. It's how I was raised, and breaking nearly 30 years of habit is difficult. But I am trying. I'm trying to remember that I have enough. There is nothing I need, in the true sense of the word. Especially at this time of year, when the "goal" is to buy and spend as much as possible, I'm trying to be conscious of what I already have, what I can reasonably afford to give, and maintaining a heart of gratitude. 

I think the key is gratitude. Being grateful for what you have is the best way to combat the advertisers and corporations who's sole job is to make you feel bad about the things you have. There are plethoras of studies (actual scientific ones, too, not just new age woo-woo) on the benefits of listing even 3 things you're grateful for daily. And they can be simple things: my lunch break, seeing a dog on the way to work, 10 working fingers, etc. We all have enough. It's just important to remember it.

Mary Poppins would want us to.

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