My husband and I DVR The PBS News Hour and often watch Friday evening’s news on Saturday morning. Enjoying a cup coffee, the cats napping in the sunshine – a leisurely start to the day. We watched the story about May’s unemployment numbers coming in at 9.1%, not to mention the underemployed and those the survey fails to pick up because they have supposedly stopped looking.

“We’re lucky,” I tell my husband, “We have jobs. We have a place to live and enough food to eat.” In that moment, I felt fulfilled. Not in a sense that I wanted my life to stay in place for the next thirty years with no advancement, but in a sense that we had an opportunity to earn enough to survive, and survive well enough.

I’ve been unemployed, underemployed, and discouraged – I know what it’s like. But even during those times, I found moments of fulfillment. Similar to Saturday morning, there were times when I would stop, reflect, and be thankful that though I did not want to my life to stall in place, a box of macaroni and cheese and a book for the evening was enough. In those moments, fulfillment was a point in time, not a destination.

During the times I feel impatient for my life to propel at a speed faster than I can force, I feel unfulfilled, restless, and anxious. I may stop to remind myself that all of my needs are met, but grateful can be a flat thought, lacking in emotion. Fulfillment only comes again when I am sincerely open to the feeling of gratitude, which, unfortunately, is most often during those times I am reminded of the alternative.