Natalie Rohman

A Chicago Girl Paving Inspiration

Grazing in Gratitude.

Many people deal with having to go through the process of purchasing a new phone—you know how it goes. Your old one "breaks" and you're instantly made to think, by some god of Apple, that there's no more use in trying to get it fixed, so you resort to the process no one really wants to go through, or pay for, but since society makes you believe that you should get a new iPhone, you get a new iPhone. We've all been there. 

This past week I bought a new phone. The iPhone Xs to be exact. I will not beat down this phone, because it is a really nice phone—fancy cameras with depth effect and a facial recognition passcode system that makes me feel like I'm James Bond. The phone itself is one thing, but the reason I got the phone was another. Details aside, my old iPhone 7 was perfectly fine. It was just that "time". 
Earlier this year I took an environmental science class that focused on sustainability and one of the things that stuck with me was the idea of perceived obsolescence. That "time" which urges us and our very consumeristic selves to buy the next iPhone, upgrade to a better car, replace something out of "trend," all of these disposable and subconscious desires pop up out of nowhere—we're left dissatisfied and conform to what companies tell us we need to buy, replace, upgrade, and all for something better

You've heard this story before, minimalists and all, we are never okay with the things we have: tangible or not. We envision ourselves as better, greater, and more attractive with this stuff. There won't be a day we go without running to Target, making that guiltless Amazon Prime order, or marking things off the To-Buy list just to add more later. I'm a victim of it, too.
I've had my fair share of Marie Kondo-ing my life and organizing, decluttering, or taking inventory of everything I own. It's just a part of me that gives me release, satisfaction, and room to grow. The tangible "things" that exist in my life have been greatly thought about—no I don't name my knick-knacks—but, I have found that dwelling on the things I have and don't have has no place in my life. 

I've come to this conclusion before and push it aside—prioroties and all. It makes me sick. Why this "urge" takes over, I don't know. Monkey see monkey do. We are creatures of desire and want. This urge hasn't just occurred with the tangible, but during times when I'm at an all-high in my life and the dark cloud wooshes over me like no bitch, you don't get to be happy. 
Gratitude and finding it is hard. I've talked about it before. It can be like a cow grazing in the grass, so much grass to choose from, but the cow just eats in the same, overeaten hole in the ground every single day. My metaphors need more work, but the point is, the cow is perfectly content with its overeaten hole of dead grass. No other cow to please. 

Maybe I'm the cow. Maybe I'm not. Maybe you're the cow. 

Don't take offense to me calling you a cow. I love cows. Anyway, finding appreciation in the disgruntled, dilapidated, and average or less than is a challenge, to say the least. Things we wish we had, but are forced to settle with: our hair, our car, our home, our relationship, our degree, our job, etc. There's always going to be more, but we are so impatient with life. We run on double-shot lattes and malcontent. 
Being active online and a blogger has come with its malcontents. You always want to have the nicest photos, perfect outfits, and a perceived aesthetic. You think your photo is good? Wait until you see hers—posted five minutes after you worked two hours for the perfect selfie. 

I'll be honest, I have never had to sit in front of the camera for that long, but I'm sure others have. It's the culture we have created. Perfection is emanated from our screens day and night. We keep up by having this urge tell us we need to change, spend money, photoshop, etc. I'm distracted, obsessed, and at times I am so frustrated with myself for feeling like I can't be present with the people I'm with or the things I'm doing because there's something else I need or want slapping me in the face. 

I always think about ways I can be more grateful. I am so lucky to be where I am right now. I think I can be very hard on myself because I fear that it could all just vanish. So much so, that I find ways to control it. All of the good in my life has been painted over with my inability to envision this life as it is, nothing more, nothing less. 
My teen years resulted in me beating myself up with "what ifs" and I'm ready to start thinking more of "what is". There are many ways I have tried to cope with this urge I have been talking about. Meditating and having a mental break to just check back in with your values and priorities has helped. I do yoga, so any time I can redirect my focus has allowed me to re-connect with things that matter: my family, my friends, my health, my drive, my mood, my gratefulness, all of the above. 

It is not an easy feat. I'm with you. You don't have to do yoga to be grateful. You could be in your car during rush hour, finishing a load of laundry, in an Apple store buying a new iPhone you think you "need," anywhere you are gratefulness comes with great power—and responsibility. We are responsible for fostering it into our lives, our interactions, our relationships, our daily urges. What we have is all we got. How do you graze in gratitude? ­čÉä

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