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  • Writer's pictureDrew Dotson

Leaving Lackville

I’d typically try to think of a clever way to start a post like this, but I’ll get right to it:

I’m fed up with myself.

Over the past several months, I’ve developed the unproductive habit of focusing on lack — on what I deem to be missing from my life. Put another way, I’ve accidentally adopted what I’d call an anti-gratitude practice. Let me give some examples.

I’m fortunate to live in an adorable house in an amazing community. I’m surrounded by thoughtful, generous neighbors who sincerely care about each other, regularly checking in and gifting each other foodstuffs (love that word). Yet most mornings, as I approach the house at the end of the dog walk, all I can think about is how the crew that painted the house last year still hasn’t come back to fix some mistakes they made. I’ve contacted them every two months since October or November, and they’re “coming soon.” Forget about all the neighbors I exchanged pleasantries with on the walk. Disregard the planter on the porch that a neighbor made by hand. Ignore all the fresh produce in the bowl on the counter. B-b-b-but THE PAINT.

Thursday marked two years on Trikafta, the cystic fibrosis drug that has significantly improved my quality of life. I haven’t been on IV antibiotics since December 2020. My once-trademark cough has all but disappeared. I do workouts I never dreamt of and am stronger than ever before. Yet there’s a moment every day when I look at my fingernails and wish they were different. Some people with CF have clubbed nails, which makes them appear rounded, almost bubblelike; I am one of these people. Forget about my lifetime best endurance and physical strength. Disregard that I’ve been able to travel and see new places. Ignore the fact that I can breathe now. B-b-b-but MY FINGERNAILS.

Like any habit, I often forget I’m focusing on lack because I’ve let it become my modus operandi. Eat, sleep, complain, repeat. You’ve probably heard the claim that it takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile, though science doesn’t really support that fact. Well, I say it takes more muscles to complain than it does to be grateful — and I actually think that’s more provable. I exert much more energy yammering away than I do simply keeping my mouth shut.

I can personally attest to the negative consequences of a scarcity mindset. When you’re fixated on what’s missing, your brain isn’t functioning at its best. A scarcity mentality has been shown to impede a person’s ability to make decisions, solve problems, and retain information. This impairment can make it easy to fall prey to a self-fulfilling prophecy. You’re obsessing over a promotion you didn’t get. As a result, you’re not functioning at your best, so your work performance suffers. You end up less likely to get promoted in the future. It's a cycle.

Though it’s human nature to focus on lack from time to time, I’ve let it get way out of hand. And I’m tired. I’m ready to pack my bags and depart Lackville. It won’t be easy, but I’ve overstayed my welcome. It’s time to move on.

If you’re reading this, you have my permission to hold me accountable.

This healthy homeowner is now leaving Lackville.

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