Tuesday, July 8, 2014

How many threads are enough?

I love a well made bed……crisp, smooth sheets, a warm blanket and a pretty bedspread and I am a serene Sleeping Beauty!

We recently moved to a new home and the first room we painted and finished was our bedroom.  How nice to have at least one room that is complete and relaxing to go to while the rest of the house is in chaos.

I finished off the decorating with new sheets, blanket and spread for the bed in matching tones.  I was pleased with the finished effect and content with my choices until………..

One day I logged on to Facebook and scrolled down my newsfeed.  Fun and interesting comments from friends.  Photos of new babies and kittens.  Recipes and news from around the world. 

And an ad for sheets……….

“Luxurious Egyptian cotton sheets,” it said, “1000 thread count.”

What?  1000 threads?  How is that possible?  I thought mine were pretty amazing at 500 threads.  Now you mean I could have got 1000 thread sheets?  Why did I not know?  How can this be?

I am kidding of course.  I no more want 1000 thread sheets than I want gold thread embroidery on the pillow cases but the ad gave me a moment of reflection.

A few years ago I don’t think I knew anything about what is now called “thread count” for sheets.  I just bought sheets because they were the right size and I liked the color.  Then I became aware……..there were sheets with a 200 thread count.  No, wait, I could get 300 and 400 and 500 and even 600 count ones.  More must be better right?

I must admit, I could tell the difference between 200 and 400 thread count sheets but above that…….not so much.  They all felt pretty good to me.  So is it really necessary to have 1000 thread sheets?

Then I realized that sometimes I can get into “thread counting” my own life.  If I need something and I am fortunate enough to get it, will more of it make me happy?  If I eat one square of chocolate and it gives me a good feeling, will I feel ecstatic if I eat the whole bar?  Will one new dress do the trick or must I have three?

Of course, the ultimate issue for thinking this way is around money.  More is always better right?  It will make me happy.  It will bring me peace.  It will solve all my problems.  Well…….maybe.

There is no doubt that having enough money does bring peace of mind but observing the drama-filled lives of the rich and famous illustrates that more doesn’t always bring happiness.

Counting the threads in my life gets me deep into the details of what I don’t have which leads me to obsession and, ultimately, depression.  It obscures the bigger picture and gives me a false impression of how my life really is.  I begin to see only what I don’t have and move away from appreciating what I have.

Years ago I was introduced to the concept of gratitude, of looking around in the moment to find things in my life to be grateful for.  At first, I thought this was an impossible task.  At the time my life was a mess and I was miserable.  I didn’t think I had anything to be grateful for.  I was counting threads and there weren’t very many.  I was, I thought, only living a 10 thread count life.

Then I learned that I could be grateful for the things I had in life that I had always taken for granted.  Things like the clothes on my back, the food in my fridge, the flowers outside and the sun or even the rain.  I could begin with whatever was in front of me……my morning cup of tea, birds singing outside, a quiet moment to myself before the start of a busy day and build on the list as I went along.

Being grateful for these everyday blessings is truly the way to count the threads of my life.  In doing this I discover that I have many wonderful, even golden, threads that make up each day.  New people, new experiences, new ideas and realizations can all be added to my gratitude list as well as appreciation for what I already have.

I don’t need more and more of anything to make me happy and I certainly don’t need 1000 thread sheets,………my 500 count ones will do nicely. 

Now all that remains is to convince myself that this theory applies to shoes…………

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