It’s nearly impossible to have the same level of appreciation for something you do daily. But Charlie Scaturro shows us how.
In the course of our lives, privilege surrounds so many of us in so many different ways.
- The act of waking up this morning was a privilege.
- Being able to walk is a privilege.
- Being able to eat a 20-ounce steak with a side of french fries is a privilege.
- Being able to complain about the traffic on your morning commute is a privilege.
- Being able to effectively communicate with others is a privilege.
- Having people who love and care about you is a privilege.
Perhaps the biggest victim of this privilege is our ability to appreciate what we have. Because for so many of us, these privileges have been so ubiquitous in our lives that we take them for granted. It is not so much that we are wrong to take these privileges for granted, as it is a simple reality of being human.
It is nearly impossible to have the same level of gratitude or appreciation for something on the 10,000th time you’ve received or experienced it as the 1st time you received or experienced it.
Likewise, if we’ve always had something and never been without it, the ability to appreciate it is often excruciatingly difficult. In this instance, it might even be possible that we are blind to our privilege altogether.
Try as we might to have the necessary perspective about these wonderful things in our life, it seems that the act of appreciation is a difficult one. Often times, it seems that appreciation as we know it today is nothing more than a few seconds of pause — where it’s entirely likely that we don’t actually think about appreciating what we have but we think more about nothing at all — before we inevitably fall back into taking our gifts and privilege for granted.
And because we’re unable to truly appreciate these privileges in our life, it seems that we’re never quite sure of what we have. It seems that we don’t even realize we have anything at all. It seems that we regard our privilege as a birthright because that privilege has always been present in our lives. It seems that we might not truly know what it is to appreciate something in full.
We should all be lucky enough to realize that so many of the things we have grown accustomed to in our lives are indeed a privilege. And these things are not just any privilege; they are privilege of the highest power.
- The privilege to connect with those around us in meaningful ways.
- The privilege not only to be safe, but to be comfortable.
- The privilege to know that clean, running water is one flick of the wrist away.
- The privilege to know that our refrigerator is stocked with food.
- The privilege to have a roof over our heads and our own bed to sleep in every night.
Though it may be difficult to appreciate the privileges we encounter every day, we know that being unappreciative is an ugly way to go through life. But the state of being unappreciative is often one that we are unable to self-regulate or even be conscious of. Which makes it ironic that we attempt to avoid being unappreciative at all costs even as we struggle to identify it when it’s happening right in front of us.
But this is not an exhortation to appreciate the great things in our life. That sentiment has been pounded into our heads since we were old enough to know what the word ‘appreciation’ meant. This is merely suggesting that we focus on remembering and feeling. Remembering and feeling who and what we are right now. This very second. Because it may not exist for long. The things we are able to do right now are amazing and wonderful and pleasing and so many other things I couldn’t possibly capture in words.
But in many instances, it is difficult to appreciate these amazing and wonderful and pleasing things right now. But we should at least make an effort to be conscious and remember what this state of being is like. What our lives consist of right now. What we’re able to do that is so basic we don’t even think once about it, let alone twice.
- Getting off the couch and walking to the fridge.
- Lifting a 20-pound box.
- Calling your mother.
- Hugging your father.
- Touching a lover.
- Texting an old friend and having their response brighten your day.
- Being able to read and understand this sentence.
All of these things are not infinite. All of these things are fleeting. In one way or another there will be a future where they don’t exist and are no longer possible.
We do our best to appreciate these things, but appreciation and the state of being grateful for something are difficult to achieve if we have never been in a situation where those things did not exist.
The only thing that’s certain is that these things in our life that we are privileged to have won’t be here forever. And invariably, these things in our life will change. And invariably, some of these changes will make us long for the way things used to be. Of course, once this happens there will be nothing we can do to revert back to the way things used to be.
But if we’re able to remember what our existence is like right now, what it feels like to be here right at this very second, then at least we’ll have that. And that’s something. It might not be something we’re interested in right now or the first thing we’ll want when so many of the things we are unable to truly appreciate in the moment are stripped away by the passage of time. But at least it’s something.
This article originally appeared on Medium.
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