blog, Pat Aitcheson writes

Poor mum, rich kid

we are prisoners of our past

LeFox via pixabay

We all want to progress in life, don’t we? We want to improve, have more, do better. And of course we want the same for our children. Especially so if we come from humble beginnings. Recently I measured my progress using yogurt.

See that perfectly curated breakfast above? Bursting with protein, fresh berries and fruit, organic honey no doubt. It murmurs vitality and micronutrients and my body is a temple. It also says, I am well off. I can afford these ingredients and the time to make this hymn to healthy eating.

I don’t really have time for Instagrammable bowls of perfection, so I buy good quality yogurt with fruit and live bio cultures. My daughter watched me scrape the lid clean; maybe half a teaspoon’s worth. Any parent of older children is immune to the slightly pitying looks and sighs of their much cooler offspring, but I decided to play.

“At least I didn’t lick it,” I said.
“Ew. Why would you do that?”
‘To get the last bit, obviously. Don’t act like you’ve never done it.”
She rolled her eyes as she left the kitchen. “I’ve never done that. Gross.”

The yogurt lid of truth

I grew up in a large family where resources were scarce and you made the most of everything. Wasting anything that could be used was sacrilege. Hard work ensured my two children never had to cut mould off stale bread or go to bed hungry. We are comfortable. But here I am, still rinsing the last drop out of laundry liquid bottles and scraping tidbits off foil lids.

We are prisoners of our past. 

We cannot live the afternoon of life according to the program of life’s morning; for what in the morning was true will by evening become a lie.
Carl Jung

It’s a struggle to change ingrained habits. But sometimes little things are the marker of bigger changes under the surface. Today that marker is a yogurt lid with perfectly good yogurt clinging to it, thrown away without regret.

There was never enough in my childhood, but things are better now. I can relax and allow myself the benefits that my children take for granted, because there is enough and I will not be left wanting. With that change of mindset my focus moves from fear to gratitude, a much better place to be.

It’s time to move on.

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