Loving Your Right-Now Life

I often find myself thinking I’ll be happier when I achieve certain things or change this or that. But there’s always something else that sneaks onto my list. It never ends.

And I’m pretty confident that I’m not the only one.

It’s easy to think that acquiring more things or achieving bigger goals will make us happier. And maybe they do. For a while, at least. Until some other shiny thing catches our eye.

When is enough enough?

How do we get to a point where we can just love the lives we’re living right now?

I think we can start today. We can start right here, right now. Wherever that may be.

We don’t have to wait for tomorrow, next month, or next year. We don’t need more money, better jobs, bigger homes, or more impressive lives to flaunt on social media. We just need contentment. We need to be grateful for what we have and see the emptiness of continually chasing after what we don’t have.

If we don’t put a stop to it, we’ll find ourselves in a never-ending chase. We will never be satisfied. We’ll keep pursuing one thing after another, hoping the next one will bring us happiness, only to find that none of them can.

So, how do we find contentment? How do we satisfy ourselves?

We find ways to love our right-now lives. We pursue joy right now, right here. We don’t put off happiness until something else happens for us. There’s no guarantee that it will. The only way to really live abundant, wholehearted lives is to embrace the beauty of life as we know it today.

What can you love about your life right now? It’s easy to see the things you wish you could change, but I want to challenge you (and myself, too) to seek out and list the things that are going well.

Are you healthy? Are your family members healthy?

Do you get to spend time pursuing a hobby or favorite pastime, even just a little bit?

Do you have enough money to provide basic necessities (food, gasoline, mortgage/rent, utilities)?

Do you have access to a wide variety of entertainment options (Netflix, cable, books, music, podcasts, radio, movies in the theater)?

Are you in a season that will pass all too soon, one that you should savor and appreciate as long as it lasts?

Do you have a vehicle that safely gets you from point A to point B?

Do you have a solid community of people to support you and live life with you?

Are there moments of everyday beauty you can pause to enjoy? How about things like the sunset and sunrise, your child’s perfectly imperfect artwork, an adorable puppy, a gorgeous flower, a moment of quiet before the chaos of the day begins, a delicious meal, or a sweet conversation with a friend?

For me, loving my right-now life looks like being grateful for the job I do have instead of spending all my time dreaming about another one I might like more. It looks like investing in decorating and updating my current home. It looks like pouring into my friendships because I have the ability to do so right now without a family of my own to devote time to. It looks like being grateful for my safety after sitting in snowy traffic, because although I had to wait to get around a handful of car accidents, I wasn’t a part of any of them.

What things do you love about your right-now life? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

 

Image source: Artem Kovalev, unsplash.com

Attitude of Gratitude

My work has just started an Attitude of Gratitude challenge, and I wanted to extend that here, inviting all of you to join me in it.

I’ve thought about (and written about) giving thanks before, but I think it’s an important topic to revisit. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in negativity. If we take one look at the news or the weather forecast or the things our neighbor has that we don’t, we quickly find ourselves spiraling down into discontentment or worse.

But if we set aside time to give thanks for the things we do have, we can add a little sunshine to what might otherwise be a rather dreary day. We may not change our circumstances, but in choosing to be grateful, we can change how we respond to the world around us.

Here’s how the challenge works: My company’s Attitude of Gratitude challenge runs for four weeks. Each day, we’re asked to list three things we’re grateful for and actually write them down. This forces those of us who chose to participate to really think about what we’re thankful for in an intentional way.

We’re also given weekly challenges alongside the daily lists of things we’re grateful for. This week we’re encouraged to adopt a “gift mentality,” considering everything we’ve been given as a gift (friendships, sunshine, our favorite cup of tea, time to ourselves, books, whatever we may have), thereby allowing us to experience greater appreciation for the little things in life that often get overlooked.

I’m excited to see how this challenge affects my mood and attitude. When my first response is one of offense and entitlement, I know I need to check myself and step back, choosing to not be so easily upset and focus instead on being thankful for what I do have. There are so many things I overlook on a daily basis that I would miss if they weren’t there. Joy can be found in the little things, and I aim to start really looking for it. Will you join me?

Today, I am grateful for:

  1. An opportunity to get dinner with my college roommates tonight to reconnect
  2. Technology that allows me to stay connected with my loved ones
  3. Good books

What three things are you grateful for today? What little “gifts” are you most thankful for?

 

 

Image source: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/11/10-super-awesome-totally-hit-the-mark-quotes-about-gratitude/

It’s the Little Things

It’s the little things in life that can unexpectedly brighten my day, bring a smile to my face, and lift my mood. Things like getting a green light after a string of reds (or even better, getting all green lights!), an impromptu coffee date with a friend, the smell of my favorite candle, delicious food, sunny days, relaxing Saturdays, 20140413_195901and a particularly beautiful sunrise on my way to work.

Things that have brought me joy this week were when my work’s weekly fruit delivery came a day earlier than I expected (yum! fresh organic fruit!), and when I found the mints I liked buried beneath the ones I don’t like in the bowl on the front desk (they look identical, but taste different– whose cruel idea of a joke is that?).

I tend to get so wrapped up in the seemingly important (or actually important) big things in life: work, relationships, transportation, housing, bills…

What I often fail to realize is that there are dozens of small blessings for me to enjoy if only I were to slow down and notice them. If I took the time to “stop and smell the roses,” if you will, I would see these little gifts more often.

20150411_124416These things often show up amidst moments of stress and frustration, giving a reprieve from the stress of the day, like a breath of fresh air. They have the power to cause us to take a deep breath and recognize that the problems we’re dealing with aren’t all there is to life, but there is also a lot of joy to be discovered, and it’s right at our fingertips.

When I take a moment to cherish the small, sweet victories and surprises that come my way, I find myself adopting a more grateful attitude. As fall begins drawing us near the season of thanksgiving, I want to challenge myself and those around me to keep our eyes open to, and be grateful for, the little things around us that we’ve been overlooking. They may seem small or insignificant, but if we take a moment to stop and savor them, we just might find they’re far more powerful mood-lifters than we thought.