I spent last week camping with good friends in the desert, in the middle of nowhere and a good time was had by all.
Having said that, it was hot, cold, dusty, and for the most part, harsh survival conditions.
Our group living accommodations ranged from a sleeping bag in the back of a Suburban, tents on the ground, a moderately outfitted camper with no running water, to RV with toilet, camp shower and AC. (Okay, I’ll give you three guesses as to which one I was in …)
All kidding aside, when I returned home, I experienced deep appreciation for what is so easily taken for granted and that passes mostly invisibly through my days: access to a toilet, not to mention of decent size, doesn’t smell, where you’re not afraid to touch the walls; Q-tips; a hot shower; paved streets; sturdy shoes, and water, to name a few.
It doesn’t take long in these conditions to remember just how blessed we are. With all the challenges we can face daily, from a difficult boss, teenagers (need I say more), traffic congestion, losing a job, grumpy spouse, overwhelming To-Do list, homework challenges, to strained budgets and more—there is so much to be appreciative and grateful for.
I find I need to regularly remind myself that circumstances don’t dictate my attitude, outlook, or happiness. It comes from within me.
In an article I recently read about teens and gratitude, a study indicated a connection between gratitude and happiness, higher grades, better behavior, more friends, increased satisfaction, less depression, more hope—and the list goes on.
I don’t know why we need a study to tell us that. Don’t you just FEEL better when you’re grateful and appreciative? I find my life more vibrant and colorful as well as more peaceful and easier to manage the turbulence when I’m connected to my blessings.
Yesterday was Sept. 11. For me one of the many lessons and reminders is to live with a grateful heart. And to be gentle with myself when I get caught up in my day and forget. It’s an age old saying, to live each day as if it’s your last.
Would you be satisfied with yourself if today was your last day? What’s left undone, unsaid, unacknowledged or unappreciated?