“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.”– Epictetus (Free Stoic Club on Coach.Me)
Today I’m thinking about hedonistic adaptation.
This morning was beautiful, last night my son was crying all night, very rare for him, he has a tooth half way out of the gum, that must hurt, and also possibly water stuck in his ear from swimming, he keeps rubbing his right ear, and he is just a little sick with a fever and diarrhea that might just be natural due to the tooth coming in. Tuesday night I was up pacing so my son wouldn’t cry, Wednesday I carried him on a walk and all day at home, last night I couldn’t carry him all night anymore.
But I didn’t hate myself for it. I’m practicing a bit more self compassion.
This morning my daughter woke up talked to me about being jealous (because I said good job to her brother) and did her math homework (five rounds of addition) quickly so I could borrow the computer (since we share it). I was so proud of her. I didn’t ask her to do that, it was very thoughtful. She learned to count by fives, using her hands and my hands, or my feet and hands she started counting by fives today when I suggested it to her.
Before our relationship was so bad, if I told her to count by five she would have argued against it… she argued about the day of the week it was, if it was night or day and other obvious things.
But though I was too grumpy towards her last night and yesterday when she put our new soap bar for hand washing all over the feather duster and tried to clean the shower with it… she was still thinking of me being able to write in the morning.
The computer I use to write, is her computer, she got it for her second birthday because her grandfather didn’t want it anymore. For him it was clutter, it had frustrated him too many times and he preferred to just use a different computer, but for her and me it’s been our favorite computer ever. It’s so easy to forget to be grateful towards my children. They give me so much, they do ask for a lot, maybe that’s why it’s hard to remember to be grateful to them.
I was proud of my daughter that she has started counting by fives in the moment it happened and not an hour later I’m not anymore. Such a danger in hedonistic adaptation.
I think my children are my wealth, I didn’t want to think of them as “items” or “possessions,” yet I actually list my best friends (I have five good friends, enough for me) as items in my list of wealth without minding it.
I don’t own them completely, like a dog, I have to care for them, their spirit is free to some degree.
I think perhaps I do own my children to an extent, their bodies are mostly their own, their styles are their own, their souls are their own, but I own something of theirs, perhaps a piece of their heart? Perhaps they split their heart between God, humanity, my husband, the world, and I? I don’t know. I’m finding I don’t have the right words to describe the relationship.
I’m lucky I was able to repair my relationship with my daughter, but immediately I wanted to move onto the next relationship I could repair.
I am proud my daughter is counting by 5s, but immediately I wanted to teach her a higher amount of counting by 5s.
I am grateful she thought about me in the morning, but immediately I wanted to sand off all her bad behaviors.
It would be nice if I found a way to pause, celebrate the beauty of life, make a note of ideas for improvement, but stop rushing for the next thing to happen ahead of its time.
I keep coming back to the idea that I rush myself and my family too much, it degrades my relationships, it strains my loved ones, but then I fall back into it again. But, I guess that’s okay, failure is okay.
As long as there is life there is hope, so I get to try again today to not rush myself and others, because when I rush I don’t enjoy the little victories, which would buffer me for the inevitable pain and defeat that is also part of life.
I wonder how much pain I have caused my loved ones by not letting the good things they do be enough before I mentally check off what happened and tell them what the next step should be? Probably a lot, but to my defense I drive myself the same way and I get a lot done. I hope to find a middle ground today or soon.
“Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.” Today when I read that I thought of it differently, in “having few wants” of things my children or husband “needs to do or achieve” and “wealth” in the form of joy in the current moment of life, in the good things that happen everyday and constantly go unnoticed. Like the beautiful golden dawn today, like the wonderful blue sky that is there everyday, like playing music all together with my son and daughter yesterday for the first time and seeing them smile and dance with real passion, not a grimace of being forced to memorize a stale piano song to recite in front of people, so many good things get spat out instead of digested in the name of hunting something bigger immediately.
I get to go make breakfast now, but I wonder why when I keep realizing this point I seem to sink back into the bad habit of rushing myself?