This week has been pretty crazy. Crazy as in busy – the good kind…I’ve been working on a treatment for a screenplay I’ve had for a while now, and in working on it I came to think of a few things.
Gratitude…no – appreciation. Appreciation for one. Why…?
Looking back on the years gone by, I’ve been able to accomplish a lot that many people wait a lifetime to do. I’ve gained a lot of skills, seen a lot of places, done a lot of things, and have had my fair share of ups and downs. The latter has always been a learning experience, and everything else an adventure as well as an education.
If I had to go back and change anything – I don’t think I would. Sure, there was the occasional foolishness – but even that I don’t think I would change. So for this episode I’d really like to discuss appreciation and seeing the bigger picture in life.
As humans we’ve all come from different backgrounds and experienced different things, learned different ideologies and adopted new ones. We’re constantly evolving and while the evolutionary process may decline, it will never stop.
It’s in our blood. Everyday, one way or another, person to person does actions that lead to different “story lines”. We feel change – in our bodies, our minds…we feel it at our very fingertips.
Without change there would never be progression – stagnation is the mother of all failures. Continuing to move forward is the way to go – and whether we decide to or not, it happens without our will. One way or another it happens. As effortless as a blade of grass or the hair on our head grows, so too does change happen.
The key is finding appreciation in the change and seeking to be proactive at every chance. I’ve come across so many people over the years that wander through life aimlessly, without thought of how much they have to appreciate – and with a little effort how much more they could appreciate and be grateful for.
The main key in appreciation is never taking anything for granted. In doing travel photography and other mobile business ventures, I’ve lived in many well off countries, including one of the five richest countries in the world (Bermuda) – to the not so well off countries, where I’ve seen people live in poverty (Thailand). Conscienably when living in the latter, I couldn’t bring myself to stay there.
Doing photography in Thailand was one of the hardest things – to see a house of grandeur directly opposite a house made with a bare tin roof and poorly assembled wooden structure never settled well with me. My entire stay I struggled with taking my camera into my hands and doing a shoot. The people were great – I did it – but with difficulty…the shots came out well, but I still felt odd…
On the flip side, it made me appreciate more of what I had. In travelling I’ve also learned to be a minimalist. My desire for the biggest has declined over the years – and instead I seek things like location, styling, energy, “zen”, atmosphere, things to do, etc. Don’t get me wrong – I live quite comfortably and am not at all a fan of these new micro accommodations that have been popping up…yet I’m still a minimalist in many other facets.
I’m not really one to collect a lot of furniture – no…cluttered place cluttered mind. I prefer open floor plans. If I chose to get up and leave to travel non-stop for a full year – I could easily do so at the drop of a hat without having to worry about so many “things”…sure, I would still miss my place…
…because I appreciate it. From running my fingers along the walls to sitting for hours late at night with nothing but a glass of wine in one hand and the sound of music, while looking out from my balcony’s view, I appreciate every detail and even imperfection.
For a while I was in a “wandering” phase…not necessarily a negative thing, in fact it was a good thing…but for a while that “wandering” phase had me restless. Sleepless nights and the feeling of always needing to just GO. Do something, see some place, be somewhere, a wanderlust, you could say.
It was a bittersweet point in my life, being a perfectionist, I felt as if it was all I wanted yet not enough. Never enough. Then slowly, that changed. My thinking changed. Don’t get me wrong – I still have a tremendous desire to shoot for the stars and then some – but it’s no longer a gnawing, never-satisfied type desire. I still always want more – just in an entirely different sense.
I’m no longer as hard on myself as I used to be. I think of life more as a joke now. The present as a gift. There’s no tomorrow – because by the time tomorrow rolls around, it’s today. So I’ve learned to just keep moving forward – the only way the tomorrow a person wants doesn’t roll around is because they didn’t take the action now to make it happen.
I appreciate my proactivity – I suggest a person always appreciate any steps they take towards something – no matter how small. I appreciate everything from the cars I’ve driven, places lived, people met, clothing worn, places been, experiences had, determination felt, and things learnt.
So you’re probably wondering when I’m going to get to the point – exactly how should you show appreciation for everything in your life…? It’s quite simple really…and at times can be quite difficult to grasp, if you don’t keep your eye on the ball.
Appreciation is one of those things taken for granted. Many people never sit to stop and think of all the great things they have going on in their lives – the most basic example can be a cell phone. Sounds funny I know but, hear me out (no pun intended).
Before cell phones…there were two ways to get in contact with each other – I touched on this briefly in my “Musings Episode 14: Friends for Friends…or Friends for Money…?” – there was getting a phone call at home or calling someone on a payphone – or meeting up with them to talk. People don’t realize the ease and access they’ve been given today – but it’s used in the wrong way. At times, cell phones can cause a social disconnect….
…and this isn’t old fashioned thinking – this is really concept I want you to grasp. Let’s go for another example. Computers. Skype. Vonage. International Texting Plans. Me keeping in contact with the people I’ve met all over the world, with this technology, has been the most beneficial and amazing thing ever.
Before all this – it was pen pals. Waiting for weeks for a response back. Eagerly checking the mail. Day in…day out. The wait was longer but anticipation greater – we yearned for it. We appreciated it. Now, with this type of technology making things such as keeping in contact with a good friend more than 6000 miles away possible – let’s appreciate it more.
You get the general idea. The thought of appreciation can be applied to anything – food we eat, places we have accessability to shop at, entertainment venues we have to go to, sports we have to participate in – from a football/soccerball to a snowboard. Inventions.
Inventions fueled from creativity.
Creativity fueled from imagination.
Imagination kept alive from thinking on what already exists and how to make it better. Cooler. More enjoyable. The list goes on.
Appreciation is a state of mind. A feeling. A review of collective memories and thoughts. Mostly memories – it’s from looking back and looking currently at what we have, what we’ve done, what we’ve seen, where we’ve gone, who we’ve met….that we get that warm, fuzzy, comfortable feeling inside.
Appreciate the little things.
The big things.
The seemingly insignificant things.
…and everything in between.
Try it everyday – and realize how much you actually have. If it doesn’t seem like enough – push for more – if it seems like too much – say thank you…and don’t lose your head – stay cool.
I know I’m late in posting this – but to everyone who takes the time out to read my musings, my weekend posts, and my quotes – I appreciate you all…and when I write every post, I like to make sure there’s effort, and thought put into it – to where you can relate. Quality is key in my world – not quantity. Seriously.
Stay awesome and look out for my upcoming “For The Weekenders” post, this Saturday night.