Kim and I are writing on a prompt a day for the month of December. Feel free to join in anytime!
Prompt 25: Gratitude. What are you grateful for this year? Why? How did you show your gratitude?
When I’m engaged, I’ll be happy!
When we finally get married, I’ll be happy!
When we buy a house, I’ll be happy!
When we have our first baby, I’ll be happy!
When we build our house, I’ll be happy!
When we complete our family, I’ll be happy!
When, when, when…
As a first-born, ENFJ Virgo, I’m all about the future. I hit milestones, go careening past them, and onto the next thing.
It isn’t that I wasn’t happy before. Or that I’m not happy now. I am happy a lot of the time, definitely most of the time. But there’s always this nagging feeling that once I arrive at the milestone de jour, then, then, I’ll be the most happy.
Gretchen Rubin (my spirit guide) refers to this as the “arrival fallacy.” When we arrive, then we will be happy. This is a fallacy because often it’s the process of arriving at a milestone that brings the most joy. And “arriving” feels anticlimactic.
The antidote, I’ve found, to this arrival fallacy is gratitude. Feeling grateful for the process, feeling grateful I can make goals, feeling grateful I have choices.
So when I catch myself saying when I can go back to work, I’ll be happy or when the kids are more independent I’ll be happy, I stop and re-think, I’m grateful to have these choices, I’m grateful to watch my small people grow (a luxury not afforded to all), I’m grateful to watch the time pass.