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I don’t know if I can adequately opine, but lately, I’ve thought about this conundrum quite a bit: Why aren’t I satisfied when I get what I need? Why do I need more? 

I guess I’ve come to expect the extras. Taking a look back, I’ve lived my life enjoying and expecting them at the makeup counter, the grocery store, and even at my favorite bar. Two for one deals and special promotions that encourage unnecessary spending abound. Metaphorically, somewhere along the lines I figured out that a meal isn’t complete unless it includes dessert. And, if dessert isn’t available, well, my meal has fallen short.

I listen to my children speak and I wonder where their sense of entitlement comes from? Surely they can’t be modeling their behavior from me! Could they…?

My 4-year-old, who after a day of nearly indulging his every earthly desire says: “But I didn’t have fun today Mom. You are mean!” this last part said after shoving his bike to the floor. Unknowingly I’ve taught them to expect more. Without those “extras,” it is hard to find old-fashioned satisfaction in the simple things.

Interestingly enough, my husband and I pride ourselves in not overcompensating for our work absences by distracting our kids with obsequious gift giving. But here we are, two people who consciously decided not to emphasize materialism somehow still coping with its effects. With a forked tongue, I twist myself teaching them the value of money, gratitude and conservatism, yet, repeatedly they watch me fail to employ the same values I espouse.

So, here’s our belated New Year’s resolution:  Back to the basics. Use what we need and cut out the spares. (Unless, of course, it’s free.)

February 22, 2010

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