It's that time of the year; thoughts turn to family and friends and we count our blessings, all while our material society reaches its consumer zenith in the form of CHRISTMAS SHOPPING.
This time last year my workmates pulled together and made a Xmas hamper so that C and I would have some treats over the holidays. We weren't destitute by any means, but things were tight (especially by Canberra standards!), with Clinton studying full-time and the two of us living off my APS 3 salary. But we did alright - our rent was always paid and so were the bills. We had everything we needed, all we had to forego were the little luxuries. God knows, there were (still are) plenty of people less fortunate than us.
This time of year always gets me thinking how lucky I am. I think in a way I am fortunate to be aware of how truly blessed I am. It helps put shit into perspective. Imagine thinking constantly of all you didn't have, all that you wanted. Plenty of people have no choice; but I'm pretty sure plenty more just can't see that the crap they want, the misfortune they imagine, is nothing more than a societal burr demanding we worship whitegoods, fancy cars, and an assortment of other nonsense.
I got a letter from the mother of my new sponsor child (the former one, Rene, turned 18 and so left the program) the other day, expressing so much gratitude for the fact that I was sponsoring her little boy. It really brought home to me that the small amount I contribute, which is really not much money in the scheme of things, was worth so much to her and her family. One thing I was proud of C and I for achieving over the past 18 months of being an on-again, off-again single income household was that we both kept up our sponsor child payments.
Anyway, C has now landed a permanent APS 4 as a graduate at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, which is bloody brilliant. I'm feeling absolutely flush - today I ordered a case of Tasmanian wine, and after work went to an exhibition/sale of handmade resin jewellery and bought what seems like kilos of the stuff! It's kind of fun to be so indulgent for a change. But I will not forget how lucky I am.
I have all I want, and all that I need. A home, a man who loves me, family, friends, satisfying work. I might not have as much stuff or money as a lot of people, but I'm certainly better off than most. It's always nice to take some time out to think about that, to savour the abundance of life, because things can always change in a heartbeat, and you never know. Better to realise how lucky you are while you have it, rather than when - if - it is all stripped from you by the vagaries of fortune.
It's better to think of all you have, rather than what you don't. Many blessings to you all this Christmas.