Sometimes I stumble into wanting things.
The checkout line is long, and inevitably, I’m in line behind the coupon queen. I like watching extreme couponers on HGTV, but in real life – not so much.
As I stand there, I find myself staring at the checkout line aisle, and all the sudden, I venture off my shopping list. You know what I’m talking about; under the mints and the gum are all the items I forgot that I needed. Like, floss picks, hand sanitizer, and Tide-To-Go sticks. And while I’m at it, I find myself picking up a lint roller, even though I never lint roll anything. Ever. My moment of weakness peaks when I grab peanut m&ms.
Thankfully coupon diva takes so long I’m able to knock some sense into myself and put the “things I didn’t know I needed” back onto the shelf where they belong.
Those checkout lines are strategic. We all know this. We’ve seen many a tantrum as the child lusts after Fun Dip candy at eye level, only to be told a devastating no.
However, I’m starting to realize I stand in that checkout line a lot more than just at the grocery store.
The longer I linger there, the more things I start to think I need.
And the longer I linger there, the more discontent I become with what I have.
I’m not talking just about lint rollers.
Thanks to social media, I see the best of everyone’s world. I have binoculars into girls I hardly talked to in high school as well as people I’ve never even met. I stand in that tempting line every time I pull out my phone and peer into their lives.
I start to admire their new careers, and my world starts to feel small. I wonder if I should have gone the business route. After all, I was good at math; why did I pursue writing?
I start to see their new homes and their renovations, and my apartment – which I previously loved – starts to feel a little more outdated and a lot more cramped. I see triathletes and half marathoners, and my 2 trips to the gym this week seem so pointless. I see them travel abroad, and a bitterness creeps in that my husband and I can’t just hop on over to Europe.
I see my friend who lost 30 pounds, and my extra few pounds last year graced me with seem to multiply.
The longer I stand in the line, the more items I throw in my cart – things that promise me that I need them. They tell me I need them to feel happy again; they tell me they’ll make life easier again.
They tell me they’ll fulfill me, and that I need them to be fulfilled.
I cannot avoid those checkout lines. They’re everywhere, and they’re strategically waiting for me.
But, I can be ready. I can decide to stick to my list, and instead of setting my gaze next door on the shelves, I can peer back into my cart. In my cart I see everything I need.
In my cart I see my husband who loves me well. I see our small apartment that we spent the entire summer decorating. I see our office where I find so much joy writing, and if I look up, I see where I accidentally painted the ceiling.
My life is messy but it’s a good life.
I see a calendar that has weddings to attend and family to see, and I remember how grateful I am to have loved ones to see and celebrate.
In my cart I see my life as it is. I see joys and sorrows piled high on depth and resolve. Prior to standing in line I knew that frugality leads to freedom and tough conversations and accountability lead to life.
And that’s what I want – freedom and life.
Prior to standing in line, I knew that was all I needed. I must remind myself over and over and over again. For me, that meant last week I had to say no to social media. I’m not sure what this week looks like.
All of our carts are different. We all need different things, but I guarantee that nothing in that checkout line will ever fulfill us.
The less time we stare at the things “we didn’t know we needed” the more we’ll realize we didn’t know we needed them, because we don’t need them.
Friends, let’s love and cherish and grow and foster what we have.
Want to hear more from Caroline? Be sure to visit her blog, jcaro.com.
Question: What is a blessing you sometimes forget to be thankful for?