It’s been 10 years since Kenny Chesney released his country pop song “Don’t Blink.” I still frequently recall the lyrics and am reminded to be grateful for all of the good in my life.
Just like that you’re six years old and you take a nap and you
Wake up and you’re twenty-five and your high school sweetheart becomes your wife
You just might miss your babies growing like mine did
Turning into moms and dads next thing you know your “better half”
Of fifty years is there in bed
And you’re praying God takes you instead
Trust me friend a hundred years goes faster than you think
So don’t blink”
We spend so much time looking forward to what’s next – the bucket list adventure, finding a new romantic partner, graduation, a long needed vacation, the days when the kids will be more self-sufficient, that big promotion or raise, retirement, financial security. What does that do to the here and now?
The Spoiled Brat in Me
It seems like only yesterday I was in high school on the soccer field with my friends. Life was so easy then and yet, I didn’t get it. I didn’t know how to be grateful for the pure lack of responsibility. I couldn’t wait to graduate and move on. While in college I was eager stretch my legs in the real world. Had I only known? (I guess if I’d listened to the wise beings in my life – AKA my parents – I would have known to be grateful.) Finding “the one” would certainly make me happy…and it did….for a little while. And then the kids came – who knew they’d be so much work? At that point, I almost felt like it was too late to be grateful!
I sound like a spoiled little brat, don’t I?
Well, I probably was!
It’s only over the last few years that I’ve really started to slow down and understand what it’s like to be grateful – I mean truly grateful – for everything I have now. I still have my weak moments. I still have aspirations for the future. However, I’m taking time to appreciate the little things.
Maybe you’ve always known how to be grateful (or as we always said growing up, how to “stop and smell the roses”) and if that’s the case – you’re one of the lucky ones!
Perhaps my story sounds familiar to you and if so, how can you break out of the daily grind?
If you’ve been paying attention to the reoccurring theme, you already know! Be Grateful….for everything…in the moment you experience it!
The New Approach
I love how the sun warms my skin and the sound of the breeze blowing through the leaves of the trees. When I injured my back last week playing soccer, I chose to be grateful it was the first time I’d ever injured by back. I knew I would heal quickly….and I’m making progress every day! My kids are at a stage where they’re either fighting like cats and dogs or crawling all over me which used to drive me crazy. Now, the first thought in my head is that “I’m going to miss this someday” and I couldn’t be happier to be a living, breathing, jungle gym. My life is so good and it just keeps getting better….largely because I look for it and expect it. In learning how to be grateful, I am being given many more things for which to be grateful! Isn’t it awesome how that works?
What are you looking forward to? Are you missing what’s going on right now because of where you focus your intention? Are you wishing away all of the blessings in front of you in anticipation of the future?
Be Grateful Through Observation and Curiosity
Here is some inspiration to stay in the moment, be grateful and love life now rather than waiting for the “perfect” circumstances to arrive:
- What color are your significant other’s eyes and when’s the last time you looked into them for more than a few seconds? Try looking into them for 2 minutes – without making fun or teasing one another! (Yes, it will be uncomfortable at first!)
- What do your children look like when they’re peacefully sleeping?
- Think of all the people who don’t have a roof over their head or clean water to drink and be grateful you do.
- When’s the last time you sat in nature and just listened to all of the sounds around you?
- Did you know it’s absolutely fascinating to watch a bug at work? (As long as it’s not crawling on you, of course!)
- Are you able to savor every bite of the food on your plate – appreciating every flavor – or do you simply consider it fuel for the engine?
- Do you know what it feels like to spread a contagious smile? Run a social experiment!
- How often do you let your elderly loved ones know how much you appreciate them? They won’t be here forever, you know?
- Ask one of those elderly loved ones to tell you a story from their childhood. What was their favorite thing to do in school? How did they meet their spouse? What was the most adventurous thing they ever did? What advice would they offer you?
- Take a big whiff of the clean laundry – right out of the dryer.
- After you sniff that blanket right out of the dryer, wrap it around yourself and be grateful you can surround yourself with warmth.
- Give someone a hug – anyone!
- Notice all of the colors in nature.
- Experience the joy of helping someone – perhaps volunteer at the local homeless shelter or food bank.
- Look through old photographs.
- Snuggle on the couch with someone you love….and see if you can feel their heartbeat.
- Watch the children play on the playground and remember what it was like to be young. (Just don’t get creepy or someone may call the police!)
- Hand a homeless person a drink, a pillow or a book that can help them.
- Drink your morning coffee on the back porch observing the life surrounding you.
- Give someone the gift of a sincere compliment. As a matter of fact, make it a habit to give out 5-10 compliments a day.
Observe everything – just observe – and then be grateful for everything you observe.
Have aspirations, have goals, have a plan, AND don’t allow your visions of a beautiful future to cloud what is right in front of you. Love everything and everyone. (I know that sounds difficult and maybe even naive. It’s always a work in progress.)
I know many of us struggle to love everything and everyone – to be grateful for the simple things in life – there could be a million reasons why. If you find yourself in this position and simply need some encouragement and support, reach out to me through my Contact page. Let’s create a future filled with happiness!