I learned this lesson the hard way in 2010, when my job moved to a new agency. I anticipated some things I would miss, like friends, the beautiful outdoor walking paths on the State House Grounds and USC campus, and Tuesday and Friday sub days in the canteen. What surprised me were the number of other small things I missed in the days and months that followed. It was small things, like the outdoor courtyard, or the way the afternoon sunlight filtered in that one hall window so perfectly just before I left for the day, or the smell of the restaurants starting their dinner cooking, or the racks of free local newspapers downstairs. I had anticipated missing the big things, and while I did miss them, I was also surprised by the small things I missed. It made me take a good look around when I started this job to become fully aware and embrace the blessings of where I am now. That's something I still do now. Just yesterday, I was thrilled at taking a walk through that beautiful office park on a cool fall morning during my break. I didn't have that kind of awareness 9 years ago, but I do now.
Too often, we focus on the "mountaintop experiences" and fail to notice the blessings along our path every day. It usually takes a shock like I had in 2010 to wake us up to take a look around and see that the small things have a tremendous power to make up the bigger picture of life. We gulp down that first cup of coffee in the morning, instead of enjoying it for 5 minutes before dashing out the door and sitting in traffic. We flip down the visor and start mentally planning what to make for dinner instead of noticing how the sun filters through the trees on the way home from work. We dig through the pile of mail before we say hello to our family when we get home. We rush through chores and errands so we can have one precious hour to sit behind the computer or in front of the TV to do what we want for a little while. We collapse into bed with no thought of the significance of our day.
One thing I'm glad Rick insists on when the weather is good is sitting on the porch with Zack and Bubbles to give them some fresh air and sunshine. It's also a great break for us to decompress from the day and just 'be' before moving on to workouts, laundry, tonight's TV shows, or whatever else is waiting. Our schedules fill up so fast that it takes intentional effort to take the time outs just to simply be in the moment and enjoy being alive. In fact, the biggest grip I have is that it seems like it's always time to do something in life. There's too much scheduling sometimes! Those moments when you take a 'time out' to just be part of the world simply turning are the ones that can open our eyes to the other blessings of everyday life.
No, you can't be on vacation or off the clock every day - but you can be 'off duty' in any single moment. Why not embrace more of those now? As I experienced, they can be gone in the blink of an eye. Take a look around and embrace those moments. It's amazing how they make all of life more meaningful.
That's all today. Take care, and have a great weekend and next week.