selective focus photography of child on bus

Cultivating a Greater Appreciation for Life

What if Life was a person? Indulge me a bit in this question. What if Life was a person? I think Life would go unappreciated. We spend a good amount of our time trying to change our lives. Life would be offended if we asked how it felt about the changes we wanted to make. “Why can’t you accept me for me?” Life would say. We couldn’t love a life that we don’t fully accept. We couldn’t love a person if we didn’t fully accept them.

It’s hard to accept life, especially when we don’t feel well mentally. Those days where we know we are supposed to get up, but we’d rather just lay in bed. How can we love life when life comes with stress and anxiety? Can we love life when there is also an anticipation of pain? Thus, we want to make changes in life. I wanted to change my job because I focused on the pains of life instead of appreciating the good things life can bring. It’s one of the bigger regrets I continue to communicate because it has helped me foster the perception that I have now. It’s not just our jobs that we want to change. The friends we hang around with that we no longer feel like they provide value for us. It’s the significant other whose aesthetics we enjoy but not their attitude. It’s the family member we provide unsolicited advice to.

Gratitude Journal

I wasn’t a fan of doing a gratitude journal early in this journey of accepting life. I think the biggest reason was because it felt like something I should do instead of understanding why I should do it. Doing anything without a reason is going to lead to shallow results. I wrote in my journal that I was grateful for the birds chirping. Maybe I wasn’t grateful, but I was just trying to find anything I could to fulfill my obligation. I think I have a better notion of gratitude. Writing about the birds chirping was never a poor example. I now know gratitude is taking in everything and appreciating everything regardless of its perceived significance to us.

Romanticizing Life

I think we can do a better job of romanticizing life. Just like having a significant partner, we acknowledge that this life isn’t perfect, but rather focus on the things we love about life. Your significant partner might snore at night, but it’s easy for you to turn the volume on what many people would find annoying because you love that person. Why not do the same thing for all of life? There will be times when we worry about the things that we don’t know, but instead of focusing on these things, why not attend to the beautiful things that we know.

If you know me, you know that I listen to a lot of music. I have a Spotify library of over 12,000 liked songs, which continues to climb. A good number of those songs are love songs. Songs about romance when it comes to people. Now, when I listen to a love song, I tend to take my focus off romantic love between people and focus on my love for life. All the qualities we hear in love songs apply. There might be songs where I can’t do that, but I want to be conscious of life and love. I know this practice will help me love life more, just like listening to Drake is a perfect way to simp.