It's 4 pm. I'm sitting in the shade of the willow tree, open book in my lap, gazing lazily up into the leafy canopy above me, the sun peeking through and kissing my skin.
I take a sip of my drink. It's pear cider, because, why not? I already did my day's work, put in 8 hours at my day job. Now it's me time.
Idly, I make plans for later: Yoga, happy hour with my hubby, some blogging. Either a couple of episodes of my latest Netflix obsession, or a few chapters of the book I'm really into.
Suddenly, the dogs start barking. Not their usual play-bark, but the one that means serious business.
I get up to investigate. One of our friends is dropping in, unbeknownst to me, because hubby forgot to mention it. Again.
I'm annoyed: What about my plans? My workout? My blogging time?
[14 years earlier]
I'm so lonely. I cry myself to sleep every night, unspeakably sad. I have no life. I can't see my future. What will I do? Where will I go? Will anybody ever love me?
I let our friend in, greeting him with a big hug, happy to see him despite my earlier jerky knee-jerk reaction. He hugs and kisses me back, proclaiming: "It's so good to see you! How have you been? Tell me!" A warm glow descends upon me.
[10 years earlier]
I'm lying on the couch, staring up at the ceiling, a tear rolling down my cheek. I feel lonely. I'm hiding away in my house, scared of the world, yet desperately wanting to join it. Wanting to be normal. To have friends come over, visit them; to be spontaneous. To have fun.
The next morning, the alarm goes off at 5 am. I groan in irritation, wishing I wouldn't have to get up to go to work. I'm hitting snooze and pull the pillow over my head.
[7 years earlier]
All I want is a job. A regular income. I'll take anything. ANYTHING.
How quickly we forget.
Once upon a time, we had goals we longed for, dreamed about, would have done anything for.
And then we achieved them.
We should be over the moon, right? Beyond happy, grateful, and humble.
Not wanting for anything else ever again.
And in the beginning, we are. Happy and appreciative, we thank our lucky stars, post excessively on social media how #blessed we are, and actually mean it.
But then, some time passes.
We get used to our good fortune.
And the discontent sneaks in.
He never takes the garbage out.
They have told me the same story 10 times already!
I hate getting up early/working late/working at all.
It's so easy to get dragged down. To first get complacent, and then spoiled.
To buy into the general sense of "I deserve better/I should have MORE".
Gratitude is the simplest, yet most powerful antidote to that.
Remember where you started.
How far you have come.
How rich your life is.
Never forget: We are the lucky ones.