Wednesday, October 21, 2015

11 Days Left - Lessons I've Learned as an Expat

Contentment is a Choice

"The grass is greener on the other side of the fence." "Keeping up with the Jones's."  We all know it, we all say it and we all think we don't have a problem with it.  At the same time we can point our finger at the person that we think does have a problem with it.  Contentment--with what we have, in our circumstances, with who we are.

The expat, and specifically the diplomatic lifestyle have made contentment something that I deal with on a daily basis.  For 5 years now I have watched people deal free housing.  Yes,  you read that right, free.  And yet, there is constant complaining and lack of satisfaction.  It's pretty much impossible to get a group of women together and not have to listen to someone complain about their house or their furniture.  Everyone wants bigger, or newer, or more amenities.  I have to admit, I have found myself wallowing from time to time.  I take my eyes off what I have and I look at what other people have and start to feel sorry for myself.  

It's ridiculous, I know.  And ultimately, it's a sin.  My new job makes this a challenge some days.  I go to people's apartments and make sure they are happy and know how to use all the switches and dials.  People are settling in and generally, quiet happy about where they are.  But I begin looking around and I can feel jealousy creeping in.  It's ridiculous really.  Because I absolutely love my apartment.  What I thought was going to be too small has turned out to be just right.  We are together and don't feel lost in the space.  Lots of light comes in from the windows and the high ceilings give it a spacious feel.  I am right by the metro and have the freedom to get wherever I want with ease.  It's a quiet area of town, yet there's a Starbucks just a block away.  I can walk to three grocery stores and a mall and a movie theater, oh, and a ferris wheel just for kicks.  I also  have the most amazing neighbors.  I would be so broken hearted if I had to move out of this place and leave these people behind.  I absolutely adore them.  

So why to I get the wants when I see other apartments?  I have no idea.  I think there is just that yucky old sin nature in me that wants to make me discontent.  It's something that I have to purposefully put my mind to and choose not to think about.

I think we all have things in our life like this.  Areas where everyone else's circumstances outshine our own.  Stop yourself today and look at what you really have.  It's a gift, one that if it were taken away, you would probably regret.

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