We aren’t dying, so we inherently tend not to value our lives.
Why should you watch someone with a terminal illness? Why should you watch someone who, according to their illness, will die? Because it’s a phenomenal way to connect to someone else, practice our empathy, and learn how to value our own lives.
We don’t value our lives…and we should. Like many of my other articles, I’m working to get this message across:
You are going to die. At least live a life where every moment you gave it your best shot at happiness.
At least enjoy what you’re doing. Enjoy your sadness, your anger, your joy. Enjoy the highs. Enjoy the fight. Enjoy the pain. They are all signs that you are alive. They are all signs of your existence.
We don’t value the little things, like sunlight on our skin. Or the breeze against our face. We don’t sit and watch the seasons change or cry with the music. We don’t dance just to dance. We don’t focus on the feeling of something under our hands.
These little moments just aren’t precious to the majority of us.
Well, because we aren’t dying. We think that we have a lot of time to focus on these things later, in retirement. But even then, we’ve taught ourselves not to appreciate the world around us, to ignore our world.
So this is where my first and only real piece of advice comes in:
Please, savor the little things and value your life.
It is the only one you have (I know, how many times have you heard that?) and it ought to be important to you that you savor every last bite of it. We don’t have to go on big spending extravaganzas to feel it. We don’t have to fly to Cancun to feel it. We don’t have to climb Mount Everest to feel it. We can feel it in cool water droplets heating up as they run down our bodies in the shower. We can feel it holding a warm ceramic mug in our hands. We can feel it walking outside our door at night, just standing underneath the cool, vast expanse of night sky.
There a billion and two tiny moments. Enjoy them.
But in all honesty, it can be hard to figure out where to start with this. It really can be. Especially if we’ve lived our whole lives focusing on something else. How do we start? How do we even find the motivation and the strength to keep trying to find the beauty of the small things? Because let’s remember, life isn’t always easy and enjoying every moment is a lot harder when you have a struggle you’re facing. It’s “safer” to just block everything out.
But that’s being dishonest to the human experience, isn’t it?
So, let’s return to the question. How do we figure this out?
We turn to the resources that we have. We turn to those who are fighting for their lives with a smile on their face and determination in their eyes.
I implore you to click on the links I’ve provided in the names at the start of these articles. Unfortunately, some of these folks have passed away but I believe that their legacy of positivity, loving the little moments of life, and fighting against our struggles with everything we’ve got need to live on for them…in place of them. Their legacy can continue with our strength.
Besides that, these people all have a unique perspective and a unique way of grabbing the present moment with both hands and enjoying it.
There’ll be another article specifically on stopping and smelling the roses later, but it’s important to remember that we are allowed to stop and smell the roses. Just because we have things to do, deadlines to keep, and places to be doesn’t mean we cannot enjoy the small things that are scattered throughout our life. We don’t always have to walk with our heads down.
Aside from finding valuing our life by enjoying the present moment, we need to value our life in one other crucial way. We have to take care of ourselves. Sleep. Diet. Exercise. Our body is working hard for us and we should be repaying the favor.
This body, healthy or otherwise, is what we’ve got. I treat my body right because I value it and what it’s able to offer me. I know that it’s doing it’s best. I know that what I choose to do impacts how well it can function now and in the future.
I value my life, quantity and quality, so I therefore value my physical and emotional body.
This is a huge reason why mindfulness practice, yoga, and other calming habits are so important for us. We recognize that we need to eat well and exercise (regardless of whether or not we do it) but we don’t always recognize that we need to take care of our mental health as well.
Going back to the YouTubers, they get that. When you don’t always have control over your physical health, you can try your best to control your mental health. This means appreciating your life. Engaging in healthy mental behaviors. Taking care of your brain.
So what does all this mean?
It doesn’t mean don’t take your life for granted, because that’s going to happen one way or another. It means enjoy your life. Work on living in the present moment. Work on enjoying every breath, every raindrop, every breeze, every snowstorm. Many of these things can bring anger and sadness to us but they don’t have to. We have a choice in how we look at our life.
So choose to enjoy it.