Countdown to ???

I woke up today and in my thoughts for the upcoming day, found myself saying/thinking. “Okay, countdown to…wait, what am I counting down to?” I realized the answer was nothing. I’ve always been a person planning the next big trip, weekend away, big event, etc., and I realized today that I don’t have anything planned in the near future. We have spent the summer finishing our basement, taking all the funds for trips this year. This is difficult for me. Like really difficult. I like to have things planned, something to count down to, something to look forward to. I think we all do this to some degree. But it really made me question how useful this is. If we are always looking for the next thing, counting down, if you will, are we missing out on living our daily life? Why are we wishing away the hours of today to get to that big trip? This implies we only allow ourselves to really live a few weeks per year, maximum (unless you are one of those lucky people who gets to travel constantly).

I am a big believer in gratitude. I wonder if we could work to be grateful for things that have occurred in the last 24 hours and continue to be grateful for the things to come in the next 24 hours, if it would help us to be more grounded. Studies in Positive Psychology have shown that if we can find even 3 things per day to be grateful for, it helps increase overall happiness and fights against depression. Could we make this even more immediate? So, I am grateful for the Fall air, the smiling ffaces (or not so smiley, depending on the minute) of my children, and the memory that 7 years ago today, I chipped my tooth at my best friend’s wedding, because we had that much fun!

I debate over the last one, as it is technically something from the past. But the memory of it came over me today and made me smile. I think it is okay to enjoy old memories, as long as they are thought of in that way, as a happy memory, rather than a stuck-ness of wishing for a happier time. But for good measure, I’ll add one more, as you can never have too many things to be grateful for. I am also grateful that I was able to get 70% off on those light up signs to decorate the kids area in the new basement.

So what does gratitude really have to do with avoiding the countdown? While they may seem unrelated, the idea is that if we can be grateful for what we have today, we might not need that countdown so much. If each day can be special in its own way, maybe the vacation doesn’t have to be the only time that we are fully experiencing the present.

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