Most of us don’t even realize how amazing our lives are. People lose the appreciation of their beautiful lives while concentrating on problems and being pessimistic about their current “terrible situation”. We consider thousands of things in our lives for granted, because it’s totally normal for us, like being able to have a shower, or to have food on our tables, day after day. Furthermore, the vast majority of us do not have to worry on whether they are going to have something to eat for the next day, as our main trouble is on what to eat the next day – something that might be a pure luxury for someone living in an area where there are limited resources of food. Have you ever noticed the fact that slum dwellers in Nigeria and even more dire places are often even happier than many in so called civilized nations, even though they lack so many things from food to – pure luxury articles like a TV – that some of us consider to be ordinary? Could it be that these people appreciate their lives a lot more, due to the fact of not being able to know whether they are able to enjoy the next day? Perhaps they don’t even focus on material things or tangibles like money, instead they enjoy the time with their family and esteem social values like deep friendships by far more than some of us do? In sum, they just appreciate that amidst all the troubles, the world is still a beautiful place.
Too often than not, we are obsessed with what we don’t have. We fantasize about where we want to be, who we want to be with and how we would like to see ourselves, all while abandoning the moments, people and places of significance that take place in our lives. There is nothing wrong with wanting change; change is good and necessary, but it doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process, rather, which is accomplished over time with transition. The problem we often face with longing for a life different than the one we have is that we treat where we are and where we want to be like an on-and-off switch. We cut off the “now” and turn on the “will be.” Making goals and planning to change your scenery should be a process where priorities change and focus sharpens, not one where one life comes to a screeching halt for the other. We've all been guilty of taking mental vacations, and we've all jumped into the visual snapshot we've projected for ourselves. But often, when we pack our mental bags we leave behind our dormant body to go through the monotonous routine of life like a corpse. This shouldn't be so. Surrendering the life you're currently living is a dangerous thing. It's a risky business that leaves us tirelessly running a race, chasing satisfaction on a treadmill, always wanting, but never having. When we make up in our minds that the present isn't important, it becomes habitual and routine. The job won't have enough benefits, one degree will suddenly turn into two and the dream house in Banana Island will soon enough become humdrum. The reality is that if we can't find happiness where we are, we won't find it where we want to be. Accomplishments will no longer hold value due to the next goal that’s pending.
Loving the struggle, embracing what it takes, understanding your sacrifices and acknowledging those who helped you along the way are all part of the process that will allow us to be better individuals. When we understand the beauty in today and embrace all it has to offer, we will learn how to appreciate the goodness we receive. The world is a beautiful place.
(Excerpts from my Book ‘The Path Less Travelled’)