good life with miranda anderson
Part of cultivating a good life is wanting what you already have.
When my daughter was born, I decided it was time to impart my Spanish skills to one of my children. I began speaking to her exclusively in Spanish at around 6 months old, and one of the first things I noticed was how I naturally would tell her “te quiero,” which colloquially means “I love you” but literally means “I want you.” It is such an endearing term that feels both sweet and grateful. I became fascinated by what it means to not only love my children, but to want them even though I already have them! Or to continue to want my husband or my job or my ten-year-old minivan as time goes by.
Typically when we think about things we want, we only list things we don’t already have. At one point in my life, I had an actual running list of “wants” on my phone — it included things like “Ray Ban sunglasses” and a “painted water dispenser” — I had seen one at a boutique and didn’t want to forget about it! I thought this was a helpful way to keep track of goals, but maintaining this list meant that instead of focusing on things I already had, I was continually looking for other things that I didn’t have, which actually undermined my happiness by creating a subtle discontent. That list meant that what I had wasn’t quite enough; there were things I lacked.
The whole rat race of seeking out and consuming caught up to me, and in 2017 our family embarked on a year-long minimalism experiment where we decided to not buy any stuff for 12 months. It was called the “More Than Enough Stuff Challenge” because we recognized we didn’t need anything, we already had more than enough!
Turning off the cycle of wanting things I didn’t have created an opportunity to shift my perspective. In the days after we committed to this challenge, I looked around my house, overjoyed by all of the beautiful things that I wanted … and already had! As the months rolled by, I began feeling a deeper sense of gratitude for my current relationships, experiences, and belongings and the joy they brought into my life. I felt a deep sense of abundance, contentment, and excitement. Being able to look around, today, and feel like my life is exactly the way I want it right now is a powerful practice. If we can’t be content with what we have today, we likely won’t be content with what we have in the future because circumstances and stuff don’t create happiness. We do.
The other day I was holding my sister’s newborn. He smelled deliciously of sweet milk and baby lotion, in that newborn baby way. As I cradled him and nuzzled his neck I thought to myself, “Do I want a baby?” and my immediate answer was “Yes! I want my baby! I want the three healthy, wonderful babies that I already have. They are exactly what I want. I am happy. I am content. Te quiero.”
Photo by Liz Williams (@lizzyography)
a note from becky
How remarkable is Miranda’s message!? One look at her Instagram and you get a sense of her happiness and contentment. Knowing more about this backstory to her desire to be more grateful and present and wanting what she already has is pretty inspiring. Thank you for sharing, Miranda!