Updated on 09.23.11

Appreciate What You Have, Don’t Sweat What You Don’t Have

Trent Hamm

A few days ago, I had a chat with someone in my community who reads The Simple Dollar. During the conversation, he asked me what the one thing I hoped people would take away from The Simple Dollar was.

A lot of ideas popped through my head.

Spend less than you earn.

Avoid debt at all costs.

Do stuff for yourself rather than paying others to do it.

In the end, though, I settled on a much different idea.

Appreciate what you have and don’t worry about what you don’t have.

There was a time not too long ago when I constantly lamented not having the latest book to read. Now, I’m in awe at the number of books to be read on my shelf, let alone the number of books I can easily grab at my local library.

There was a time not too long ago when I was convinced that I had to go out on the town with friends or buy something new to have fun. Now, I can find more stuff to do that I’ll enjoy in my house or within a block or two of my home that I can’t imagine ever getting bored. I wish I had more time for all of these things.

There was a time not too long ago when I hated days when I didn’t feel well because I felt they were lost days. Now, I’m excited at the possibilities that each day brings me, even if I’m not feeling well. Even on a sick day, I can get caught up on my reading or on other tasks.

There was a time not too long ago when I pretty much constantly lusted after the latest tech gadget. Now, I’m thrilled when I can repair something that’s worn out and keep it running, like my recent part replacement on an old PC with a damaged video card or my dismantling of an old iPod to repair the battery myself.

There was a time not too long ago when I hated myself for being blind in one eye, deaf in one year, and with a non-functioning thyroid. I felt constantly inadequate. Now, I’m glad to have great vision in one eye, great hearing in one ear, and medication that makes the thyroid issue a non-starter. I can overcome whatever’s thrown at me.

There was a time not too long ago when I lamented not having enough friends. Now, I’m extremely glad to have the close friends that I have and I realize that I have a lot more additional friends and acquaintances than I often realized.

You have a lot of things in your life – people, places, things, ideas, moments, memories, skills, hobbies, and so on. Those things are more than enough to fill a lifetime. Don’t waste a solitary second of that lifetime lamenting the things that you do not have. There’s always something else out there, but worrying and spending money on and obsessing over what could be just detracts from the abundance that you already have.

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  1. krantcents says:

    The things I appreciate has nothing to do with money. I appreciate my close family relationships, a career I love, a great long marriage and good health. These are things money can not buy!

  2. Liz says:

    What is that old saying? Something like “Without your health, you don’t have anything?”

  3. K Ann says:

    I think it’s “If you have your health, you have your wealth.”

  4. TLS says:

    Great post!

  5. What a great reminder for us to shift our attention away from the missing slice of pie and to be thankful that we have pie in the first place! Especially when it comes to finances, it is too easy to focus on what we feel deprived of instead of the abundance that we already have.

  6. Rebecca says:

    I realized how rich I really am. Over the weekend, I wanted a snack, so I walked into my sunny back yard and grabbed some grapes and chestnuts. I sat down and had a yummy nutritious snack and thought about how very fortunate I am. I don’t have much money, but this was an experience that money couldn’t buy. I had to pass this on after I read the post.

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