A New Perspective & Priority for 2017
So much of our lives is determined by our perspective, but we don’t grow up understanding this. I suppose this is why we rarely appreciate what we have and instead, become so occupied with pursuing what we don’t have.
The grass may always be greener on the other side of the fence because that’s where our focus lies, and the truth is, if we would just stop for one moment and sit in our own yard, taking in the details and colors, letting the memories wash over us, remembering where we used to be, how far we’ve come, all that we’ve built over the course of our lives and the personal growth that has happened there… well. That’s the path to a level of gratitude, contentment, and appreciation that are the keys to unlocking what we truly want, deep down inside. And it’s right in front of us all.
As I write this, I’m headed back to LA after spending Christmas with my family in Niagara Falls, Canada. I love my life in LA but all of my family is here, and I feel like I’m tearing myself away from an essential part of who I am every time I leave. It doesn’t get easier, it gets harder, especially as my parents get older and my relationship with them becomes a continually more significant part of my life.
I definitely didn’t always feel that way.
I remember as a teenager, somehow knowing I would live in the States someday and feeling so anxious to move away from home and “start my life.” I wish I could have enjoyed the time with family that I so often hated, and savored each moment with my parents. This is one of my biggest regrets and one of the key things I would tell my teenage self if I had the chance.
I get to see my parents four times a year which is never enough but still pretty impressive, considering the miles between us, and I love our visits. But I’d love so much to be able to go out with Mom for coffee once a week, go skiing with Dad a couple times a month, and have both of them over for dinner whenever I wanted.
Why Presence Has Become My Priority
This led me to the importance of perspective. Of being fully present in each and every moment of our lives, appreciating what we have and managing our minds so that we don’t regret the past or project sadness into our future. Our thoughts are what cause our sadness, especially thoughts about the past and the future. When I think about the moments I wished away when I was younger, or all of the time I won’t have with my parents even in the near future, I feel so desperately sad because I would absolutely change all of that if I could. But I can’t, and choosing to dwell anywhere other than this present moment is choosing to feel sadness for something over which I have no control.
So in this moment, as I head back to LA, I am figuratively digging my toes into the very green grass in my own yard and choosing to practice gratitude: for having such loving parents, for the gift of spending one of the best Christmases I’ve ever had with them, for a wonderful life in LA and the family I have there, through my friends. I could go on and on, viewing the world from this beautiful perspective, and I’d like to encourage you to do the same.
Take a few moments, right now, to slow down your world until you are focused on this present moment, as imperfect as it may be, and simply sit inside of it. Appreciate the details, the sights, sounds, and colors, and begin looking at your world through the lens of gratitude until you feel a deep sense of contentment. All of this is right in front of you, all the time. All we have to do is slow down enough to see it.