Why is it that however difficult it is to achieve something we desire so greatly — it is often taken for granted?
We live in a world where people, objects, even the planet we live on it seems are disposable; to be used up and tossed in the trash.
We have created a throw away culture. A culture that places little value on the things that matter — kindness, fairness, generosity, equality, honesty, humility and gratitude and instead places it’s values on wealth, power and status.
A culture that takes life for granted.
Things that we have dreamed of, wished for, wanted so badly that we have spent hours, weeks, years, even decades building, working towards; once we have them we no longer want or need them.
We discard them without a second thought.
From childhood and throughout our lives we are encouraged, coached and taught to strive for more, want more, need more. To never be satisfied. Bigger is better. More is more, but wanting more without appreciating what you already have is an empty journey — a journey without rewards.
We strive for more each day, but that doesn’t make us happy.
Why? Because, once we achieve what we strive for we move the goal posts or change our minds about what it is that we want. We already have what we strived for yesterday, things we thought would make us happy and yet we don’t appreciate them today. We take them/it for granted.
We perpetuate the cycle of a ‘life of strife’!
Always wanting more. Always needing more. Always expecting something else. Something different. Thinking something we don’t have will make us happy, but happiness comes from within, you can’t find it outside of yourself — no matter what you achieve in life.
This is how capitalism works. Taking things for granted is humanities curse.
We are all guilty of it, myself included.
I am lucky enough to live in Santa Monica, CA. a truly beautiful place to live and work. I lived here once before — back in 1997 through 2006. It wasn’t until I had to leave in 2006 that I truly realised how lucky I was and what I was leaving behind.
Once I knew I needed to leave I begun to make the most of the wonderful place that I lived; going to the beach every single day, spending more time with friends, hiking, swimming in the ocean and lots of other great outdoor things. In my final 6 months; after living in LA for almost 10 years I finally made the effort to enjoy the city. I took advantage of everything it had to offer. I lived life to the max, in the moment and enjoyed every second of it.
Not long after leaving CA. I missed the life I left behind and begun thinking about how I could find my way back. I swore I would appreciate every second of my life and would never take anything for granted again.
Guess what — just last week I found myself doing just that — living in the past and the future. Less than six months after moving back to the place I had dreamed of for thirteen years; I found myself walking on Santa Monica beach daydreaming about all the things I didn’t have, all the things I would, could or should have instead of appreciating where I am. Instead of seeing the beauty of the ocean, the mountains and my life as it is today.
The very life I had been dreaming of getting back to for thirteen years.
You can judge me. Maybe this isn’t you, maybe you appreciate everything you have every moment that you have it, but if you are honest with yourself I am pretty sure you are guilty of this in some way too.
Why do we always want what we don’t have? Why are we never satisfied with where we are?
Walking along Santa Monica beach that day recently I woke up. I realised that this is it. This is life!
This is the journey.
We need to enjoy each day for what it is, for where we are, for what we have. Every moment spent wishing things were different is a moment wasted, a moment we will never get back, a moment that we aren’t living in the present, but instead dwelling in the past or the many possible yet unknown futures.
These are not moments lived — they are moments lost!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we all have to sit back and be happy with our lot — as it is — and ask for nothing more from life, from ourselves — that’s not what I’m saying at all. Of course we should try to better ourselves, better our lives.
What I’m asking is that we appreciate where we are.
What I’m asking is that we stop, look around and smell the roses. That we remember the feelings and emotions we felt when we first achieved our goals or received what our hearts desired.
When you bring those emotions back to the surface and let them stir you in your core like they did the first time, that is when you will see the beauty in your life today.
When we are grateful for exactly where we are, grateful for what we have — only then can we truly know what it is that we still want or need in our life.
People say we should remember why we started. I believe remembering where we started is just as important.
If we want to be happy with our now, with today — things need to change. We need to learn to appreciate where we are, what we have.
To remind ourselves daily; how lucky we are and how far we have come instead of focusing on everything we don’t have and how far we still have to go.
We need to nurture and respect our lives, our planet, our relationships, our friendships and our material possessions. We need to stop ‘trading in’ or ‘trading up’ and create a world where we cherish where we are and what we have — if we want to survive, if we want to be happy!
If 2020 has taught us anything let it be; to stop waiting for Friday, stop waiting for Summer, stop wishing we had a different life and stop complaining. Start enjoying every moment, start living life to the full, start appreciating what we have right now, in this moment.
We only get this one life.
Stop. Look around — Love your life as it is. Don’t take anything for granted!
“If you knew how much time you had you wouldn’t waste a second.”
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