Mick Jagger sang it: “You can’t always get what you want.” But it seems you’ll be a lot better off if you want what you’ve got.
I recently read a study that claimed the happiest people aren’t necessarily the richest, thinnest or even most popular. These researchers found that the happiest people are–wait for it–the most grateful. Sure, I thought, if I were happy all the time, I’d be grateful too. But that’s not the case: these folks are happy because they’re grateful. In other words, the gratitude came first and happiness followed. Go figure.
It’s an oddly simple idea, and one I’ve been using on my children for years without even realizing it. Whenever they’re agitating for the newest, better, more expensive toy or gadget, I remind them to take a moment to be grateful for what they have. Of course, the message often goes unheeded, but there’s a nugget of wisdom in there that I can certainly use. (more…)
My grandfather adored his chocolate.
Maybe it was growing up near Hershey, Pennsylvania, or perhaps his years of getting by with less during the Depression, but PopPop ate chocolate every chance he got. He loved it all—creamy milk chocolate, with or without nuts; semi-sweet in cookies or straight from the bag; and his absolute favorite, dark chocolate.
Some of my most cherished childhood memories were the nights we’d stay up late with PopPop, watching TV snuggled on the couch in my grandparents’ cozy den. After my grandmother had gone to bed, he’d turn to us kids and say, “Hey, how about some of that candy?” This was code for us to go searching for the goods.
In those days, my grandmother had a habit of buying beautiful boxes of chocolate, waving them under my poor grandfather’s nose then making them disappear. He’d have us dig through cupboards, ransack drawers and rummage through closets until we unearthed her stash. Naturally, we enjoyed our sweet spoils all the more thinking we were getting away with something…but I’m pretty certain my grandmother knew exactly what was going on. After all, she kept buying more chocolate. (more…)
The other day I went up to the attic to look for a suitcase. While I was moving things around I came upon a stack of boxes delivered to me after my grandmother died last year. We were close and her death was a huge loss for us. Honestly, it’s been difficult to unpack those boxes. But on top of the pile I spied a treasure from my childhood: a pretty little china set that my grandmother used to throw tea parties for my sisters and cousins.
I had almost forgotten.
I’m lucky. I had my grandmother for many years—well into adulthood. She saw me finish college, marry a great guy and have three incredible children. She had time to know my kids, each of them, as individuals. And of course, they adored her.