It is human nature to take things for granted...however, don't leave yourself open to regret and miss out on the meaning from connecting with those you love. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net
For those of us living in Australia, we are born into a country where there is adequate provision for all, with those who are unemployed, disabled, elderly or ill being given subsidy from the government to afford housing, food and medical services. I know for one, it is not easy to try to put myself, even in my imagination, in another’s shoes, and envision a life without such provisos.
Depression is only a diagnosable condition in the Western World, which it can leave a person wondering, as to what buys happiness, if money can’t? We learned in fact that the happiness nation in the world, scientific evidence showed, was Bhutan! A third world nation, where hunger and poor medical care, and not the greatest opportunities for education, happier than Australia!
Things seem to make a little more sense, when the finding that it is connection with a living being –whether gardening, family, friends, pets and volunteer work have been shown, also in scientific studies to elicit the greatest long-term happiness. Yet it is these very things that we seem to take for granted.
We may seem so busy caught up in our work, study, ambitions, ‘keeping the place tidy’, worrying about money, that at the end of the day, we are flat out having quality time to spend with our partner, children or pets in a meaningful and positive way.
Workaholics or driven people need to be cautious that in their fervent drive to ‘climb the ladder’ or even within their every day worries which are totally valid of course, that they don’t put themselves in a position where they will one day regret the simple every day connections they have to the living around them – nature, the important loved ones in their life, their community.
Of course we need to tend to our daily affairs – bills need to be paid, work hours are often out of our control. However, if you think that getting that promotion will ‘make you happy’, keep in mind not to forget the everyday connections you have that intertwine together to create the meaning in your life. Plan time so that every day, or even every three days those wonderful things you might take for granted, as we all sometimes do, may not be there one day. Don’t live a life that will leave you with regrets.
I haven’t been well, and mum was here today. I recall with pain that I was trying to push myself with work, and not spending precious time with family. When she left, it hit me that what I was doing could wait. Work is always there to go back to. Life and health can be tenuous and fragile. From now on, I know I will make a concerted effort to remember the ones who make life so precious in the first place.
I also recall with pangs those days I grumble to myself about 'my lot' when I am one of the most fortunate people in the world - I have a loving family, a beautiful pet, meaningful relationships with friends, and I am able-bodied and in relative good health. I step onto a train, and there is someone who is smiling, in a wheelchair. As I write these words, I am silently resolving not to take for granted love or the other daily blessings that are a daily reality for me just by virtue of living in this country.
Dwelling on what we have, and is special to us, will enrich our lives as meaning will always abound due to our central focus. Thinking what we don't have will leave you negative and feeling 'without' - from a point of poverty thinking, it is very hard to not only see the blessings before you, let alone create further ones.
It makes sense that we need to appreciate what is there before we are even in a position to have more things to feel grateful for.