“It is one of the saddest facts of human nature that we commonly only learn their value (of blessings) by their loss….There are times in the lives of most of us when we would have given all the world to be as were but yesterday, though that yesterday had passed over us unappreciated and unenjoyed.”
– William Edward Hartpole Lecky
I read this quote yesterday and I think about conversations I have with people. Sometimes I’m guilty of it or sometimes the other person is, but so often someone in the dialogue is talking about something focused on the future or past and not present day. Or complaining about someone they love that is driving them crazy. Or anticipating the next change or wanting something different. I bet if most of us reflect on our discussions, we spend most of it focused on a desire or want in the future. Or complaining about something in the present. The grass is always greener in the past or the future. And it is easy to complain. It can be so contagious.
And yet, we often mourn the current day months or years from now, never realizing in the moment how to cherish it.
I think of that now for myself. I aspire to have a house, have a baby, finally buy a new car after 10 years, etc. And yet, my life is pretty amazing. I’m married to someone I love and we made it through some pretty rough times and are actually happy after it all. I have an amazing job. I have so many family members alive, safe, and healthy. And I like my family! I have a ton of freedom personally and professionally to travel at my leisure. I have a great group of friends. I have a wardrobe most would kill for! And I’m fit and really healthy mentally and physically. I have enough money to even do fertility treatments and my body is producing results, even if slow. I have less wrinkles than I ever will have again in my life (it only goes downhill). I love my hair, ha! And I could keep going on and on. Some more superficial than others but all and all—a really damn good life. And I have to keep stopping myself from focusing on what I want vs what I have. About once a week, I remind myself of this. And this habit of enjoying the moment I’ve taught myself this year in particular. I could focus on all the hardship and let it become my life or take it in stride and really enjoy life.
I’m training myself. So much so that I find myself thanking my body for my health in yoga, praying with gratitude, or telling my husband for the hundredth time “Do you know how lucky we are? So freaking lucky for our life.” I forgot my computer on Monday morning and got to work. I was walking in when I realized I had to drive through DC traffic back to my house and get it. And then drive back in due to meetings. I could have completely flipped out or complained, but I chose to catch up with a family member I hadn’t talk to in a while and take a call from the car. And it all worked out without ruining my day or attitude. Until I die, which is hopefully not for a very long time, I want to know I am giving it my best every day and trying to remain present, thankful, and with the right attitude. That doesn’t mean I don’t have my ugly, negative moments. I do. One is my above blog. But I keep it in check.
So anyway, I read this quote and wanted to keep reminding myself and hopefully some of you. Try to appreciate what you have. People change, people die, life evolves and in each stage there are things to mourn and want….but you can get lost in it and stop actually living.
Hope you do some living this week!
*Picture of Big Sur, CA this month when Todd and I were out there hiking. I just sat on the mountain side thanking God for this earth and life. It is pretty damn amazing.