(This is not my original photo. Don’t don’t how my watermark showed up but please ignore.)
My husband and I are at our “teeny-tiny red cabin”. We bought it nine years ago, move-in ready. It’s adorable. We love it. But it is only about 500 square feet. That’s fine for the two of us but when family members come for a visit we need more space so two years ago we had local Amish people build our even more adorable bunk house “LaCabinette”, a 12’ x 16’ building with a porch. We left all the 2’ x 4’s exposed, walls and ceilings. We “whitewashed” the peak in a beautiful pale aqua blue and the walls are whitewashed in white. Except for the futon in both buildings, everything is from thrift shops. Most of the book I’m writing that I mention on my home page was written here. It is a retreat from a very hectic lifestyle and is the most peaceful place I know.
Now that you know how much I love it here, you’ll be surprised at my reaction to what I’m going to tell you. I’m embarrassed to share this with you but I promised to always be honest. Anyway, my husband and I were talking a walk along the dirt road around the corner from “teeny-tiny red cabin” and we come upon this big, beautiful home under construction. The owner invited us in to look around once he learned we were neighbors. The inside was everything I could imagine, even unfinished. Our teeny-tiny cabin would fit inside the living room alone. My heart yearned. I was envious.
Why is satisfaction so tenuous? So fleeting? What makes us perfectly happy with our lives and then whoosh; it’s gone when we see something better? How do we go from being discontent with what we genuinely love to wanting something else? Surely, we realize there’s always something better. Although why we don’t remember there’s always something worse, I don’t know.
I’m afraid I can only pose the question. I don’t know the answer. I do know though, that dissatisfaction can lead one down some dangerous paths. It’s easy to go from dissatisfaction in one area in our life and project it to other areas in our life. For someone prone to depression, that’s not a good thing.
For myself, I’m careful to maintain an attitude of gratefulness because down deep I am very grateful for everyone and everything in my life. My envy of the beautiful house was very short-lived. Do I still love it? Yes. Would I love it if it were mine? I think so. (After all, that would be more time commitment and the whole point of a Teeny, Tiny, Red Cabin is because it’s super simple to keep up.) But does my teeny-tiny red cabin still bring me more contentment than anywhere else on earth. Yes. Am I grateful beyond belief? Yes. Was my sudden envy something to be ashamed of? NO!
I’m just human, that’s all.
I once read that one of the ways to avoid purchasing things we don’t need is to look at the things we see in stores as if they were in a museum. Beautiful to look at but not to buy. That’s what the house around the corner has become for me. Beautiful to look at, but not mine to have. “Teeny-tiny red cabin” is my piece of heaven and nothing changes that. Should someone buy the lot next to us and build something grand, I’ll go through the usual first pangs of envy and then I’ll come back to “teeny-tiny red cabin” and be glad it’s so small because I can clean it in an hour. So there!
Dissatisfaction can result in good outcomes if our dissatisfaction leads us to make necessary changes. We probably make few significant changes in our lives without some initial dissatisfaction. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I think we all know the difference between dissatisfaction that serves no purpose other than making us envious and dissatisfaction in areas that lead us to constructive change
There’s a truism I run across all the time-“There is always something to be grateful for—always.”
What about you? Have you find yourself dissatisfied with something and then realized your mood had taken a nose dive? What could you do to feel more satisfied with your life? What in your life can you be grateful for?
(bty, this is also being published in “depressionsgift.com)