Yes, that is a funny picture, however, it holds a wealth of real, life altering information and lessons.
Tonight while talking to Alyssa’s boyfriend about birthdays and age, I thought about how different my life would be if I could go back to my twenties and retain the knowledge I have now at this age. Then I started thinking about the things that hindsight has taught me.
Let’s break down my funny picture…
You Really Never Realize
As a society or just members of the human race, most of the time we are so caught up in the moment that we miss things. We do not fully realize how wonderful life is because we are concentrating ON THIS VERY MOMENT. Nothing is wrong with concentrating on the moment. Actually it is necessary to be immersed in the moment in order to excel at whatever task we are performing.
However, there is more than just this moment, so let’s move onto what you have…
What You Have
When was the last time you took the time to appreciate what you possess, have experienced or the people in your life? In other words, how often do you count your blessings? Sounds somewhat trite especially if you’re going through a rough time right now, but appreciating life is very important for many reasons. By practicing appreciation, not only are we able to more fully enjoy the current moment, but we usually make better choices.
Till It’s Gone
If you don’t appreciate what you have until it’s gone, you’ll have wonderful hindsight and lots of regret. You will be less likely to feel remorse for missing or “not realizing” the value of things, people or experiences that have passed if you take the time to appreciate THE MOMENT you are living right now.
Toilet Paper Is A Good Example
Ahhhh, yes, toilet paper.
I don’t have a trash can in my bathroom. I know that many of you are going to think I’m weird, but no one uses my bathroom except for me. If I have any trash, I put it in the other trash to go out soon. I just don’t want to have to run into every room emptying trashcans.
Anyway, as Murphy’s Law would have it, the other day I found myself in a predicament. Alyssa wasn’t home and the toilet paper roll was empty. Since I don’t have a trashcan filled with discarded tissues and there were no spare rolls of toilet paper in the bathroom cabinet, I didn’t know what I was going to do.
Unfortunately, the closest roll of toilet paper was on the top shelf in the laundry room which is not near my bathroom. I think at that moment I appreciated toilet paper more than I have ever appreciated it.
You Really Never Realize What You Have Until It’s Gone
Have you ever pulled a muscle or broke a bone? If so, you know that you never realized how much you used that body part and you appreciated it more than ever.
After the muscle or broken bone healed, did you eventually start to take it for granted again?
Every morning when I apply my makeup, I remember breaking my nose because there is a super tiny, tiny, tiny scar on it. The sound of it breaking is as fresh in my mind as the day it happened and it keeps me ever grateful for a healthy body that works the way it was designed to work.
Who would have guessed that breaking my nose would have such a huge impact on me day after day?
Let me give you another example.
When they are babies, parents are run ragged taking care of them all hours of the day and night. Eventually they become teenagers and you wonder if you will ever have a good night’s sleep again. Then they become older and move into their own home. The fingerprints aren’t all over the windows, toys or clothes aren’t strewn everywhere and the house becomes very, very quiet.
People call it the empty nest syndrome, but it is really just a whole lot of sadness because you miss all the wonderful moments with you child.
Having to see a scar because of something from your past, being sad because you miss the daily interactions with your child, feeling a loss because of the death of a loved one and hundreds of other experiences can remind us to be thankful.
Sometimes, however, you may live in such a way that every time you look back there is pain caused by regret or guilt. Those are the times that you really realize what you had because it is gone and too late to recapture. In my own personal experience, I think those moments are the ones that bring the most unhappiness.
Don’t take anything for granted.
Notice and appreciate the big things, medium things, little things and super tiny things.
The goal is to minimize regret because unfortunately, even with a heart filled with gratitude, you really never fully realize what you have until it is gone.