Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Taking things for granted

It's often a pivotal and life-changing moment that leaves us re-evaluating the important things in life... the things we often otherwise take for granted. You know the ones- our health, our families, our jobs, having a place to live, something to eat, or even the sheer fact that we opened our eyes to yet another beautiful day of life on this earth this morning. 

You see, we often get so caught up in our busy lives that we tend to forget just how important it is to truly live in and experience each and every moment in it's simplicity. We live for the big things, the exciting things, instead of too, always appreciating the little things. We live for the weekends, the holidays, or the vacation we've been dreaming of for years, instead of too cherishing the days we spend in bed with a pint of ice cream watching "The Big Bang Theory". Oh, no one else does this? Well... you get the point.

And while of course it's great to have goals and things to work towards, I think it's equally important to remember that each day, hour, or minute from now is never promised, and to thus, live accordingly. By living in the now. By not taking life for granted. And by making each and every day the best as it can be. Yes, even those supposed "bad days". Sure, we ALL have days we'd rather forget, and believe me, I have PLENTY. But really, give it a good think.. how bad is it really? Aside from the really really devastating days, are the other 'bad days' really that bad in comparison? 

OK. Hear me out. 

You accidentally dropped your brand new iphone, smashed and water damaged the hell out of it. Or you got in a minor car accident in which you or no one else was seriously hurt. Or your flight was delayed due to bad weather. Annoying? Yes. Life altering? No.

Consider this:
  • The fact that you have an iphone says enough.. It tells me that you can afford the necessities and live a pretty comfortable life. It tells me that you have water to drink, food to eat, and hopefully a roof over your head. This is a luxury MANY people don't have. Go cry about it, and tell me you're having a bad day when you have a REAL problem. 
  • Be THANKFUL you got in that accident. It will teach you to be better aware of your surroundings and to be a better driver. Oh yeah, and that cell phone you were texting on before you almost killed someone... put it away. Texting can wait. Your life won't. Consider it a valuable lesson learned.
  • Ok. Your flight is delayed. Annoying, but tolerable. Be happy you're not thousands of feet in the air experiencing the vomit-inducing turbulence, or worse yet, plummeting to the ground due to the planes inability to handle severely poor weather conditions. View it as a blessing in disguise. 

See. You can choose to look at every situation in two ways: positively or negatively. Seems simple. And it is. You can either wallow and waste what you consider to be a bad day on the gamble that you'll be given a new and better start tomorrow. Or you can accept that you are simply having a bad moment and move on.

This good attitude stems from, what I like to call, re-awakenings. Moments that have us questioning all of the people and moments we don't always appreciate to their full potential. We have all kinds of these moments that jolt us back to the sad truth about life. The fact that inevitably, it will all someday end. And it usually takes something as traumatic as a loved ones death, or experiencing a major heart break, to bring us unwillingly back to the reality that the life as we know it today, is never promised tomorrow.

And so... afterwards, we make that simple promise to ourselves that we will be better about treasuring the people and the things important to us, and make time to do the things we've always dreamed about doing. There's only one problem...

As time goes on, so do we. We go on, living life, forgetting completely about our pact to 'live in the moment' to 'appreciate the little things' and to 'not take things.. or life.. for granted'. We go back to being overworked and becoming too busy for the moments that REALLY matter in the grand scheme of things. We go back to planning our entire lives, down to the retirement we hope to have by age 65, and all of the things we'll do once we reach this new age of supposed freedom and independence. 

In fact, we often become SO busy trying to build a life, that we sometimes forget how to simply just live one. 

I think that we tend to view life as this never ending road in which we are guaranteed to wake up happy and healthy tomorrow, and for many years to come. And although, we all know that's not necessarily the case, we live as though it is. Even though we are all very much aware, that one day, it simply won't be. We plan all of the things we will do once we have the time, forgetting though, that time is never guaranteed. 

You see, we all wait for the right time to live out our biggest dreams, when the reality is... the right time is NOW. We overlook the seemingly meaningless, for the something meaningful. And we live for the big things, and not for today.


Tell him or her how you really feel, take your dream trip, or spend every Sunday in your pajamas. Stuff your face with cheese curds, sing with your god awful voice, or watch and entire season of Dexter in one day. Dance crazily, party 'til the sun comes up, and kiss all of the wrong people. Climb the Eiffel tower, jump out of a plane, or watch the beautiful sunset over the ocean. 

Do what you've been dreaming of doing. Enjoy every moment. And follow your heart completely. 

And do it all while you still have the chance. 

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  1. Very well said, Jerra! Now, I just need to take your advice and start living this way. Life is too short, and health does fail, Live in the moment and spend time with your loved ones. If they are not near by....keep in touch! Technology has made that very easy! We love you and miss you very much, but it has been a great blessing to know that your a living your dream, and through you and your writing, has helped me to become a better person, Thank you!!! : )
    Love you tons, Mom

  2. Amen! That's why I actually took the leap and bought my ticket to Thailand to volunteer at an elephant sanctuary…definitely a risk, but a well-calculated risk. By the way, you don't know me, but I'm a fellow travel junkie who happened upon your blog :) love reading it!

    1. Good for you my fellow travel friend! When and where will you be in Thailand? I am making plans to head there after my VISA ends here :) Maybe we will cross paths somehow! Best of luck in your travels. And thanks for reading!

  3. Thank you!! I'll be at the BLES Elephant Sanctuary mid July 2014. The woman who runs it, Katherine, was once a young traveler just like us who got inspired to save Thai elephants. Best of luck in your travels as well, I'm a "Lord of the Rings" nerd and I'm VERY jealous you get to explore New Zealand! :)

    1. AWESOME! what an incredible opportunity. Have the best of luck on your adventure and travel some other parts of SE Asia while you're there! So cheap to travel around there :).

  4. Another great article Jerrica, I need to print this and put it on my mirror. Live in the moment, do what makes ME happy, take my dream trips, for tomorrow is NEVER guaranteed.