It was my birthday the other day. Another number to add onto my personal life’s journey experience that we call time. And yes, although it is a bit of a cliché, it most certainly is only a number.
But birthdays are special, as they become a celebration of all that you have learnt during the previous year. Quite often they are shared with family and loved ones, but that of course is not always the case for everyone.
For me this was special, as it was mine (and my twin sisters) 60th birthday, but I was absolutely blown away by the love and words that came my way.
Firstly, I was humbled with the fact that most of my birthday celebrations had been organised by my 3 loving children. They gave up their time (a precious commodity for anyone) to mark this occasion for me, and one that I will never forget.
Secondly, I received through the power of short video clips, messages from family and friends. These had an incredible effect on me as I listened to people’s thoughts about me. I am not ashamed to say that my eyes welled up with tears throughout almost 30 minutes of playtime.
Thirdly, it was not just one evening of laughter and celebration – it actually took over 2 days, many activities (swinging in tree tops as an example!) and fun time.
It then came over me like a wave – that I was so grateful for all the people that made my life. As I paused and looked around myself, I knew that it was me that should be saying wonderful things to all those beautiful souls smiling at me! A return of gratitude is a lesson that I have learned but perhaps I do not express it as often as I should do. Time to focus on that a bit more…
I also started to think more about taking a closer look at the very small things that I might take for granted. So, the message for everyone is don’t just focus on the big and obvious things you can be grateful for.
Think about what very small things you can be grateful for too.
Like the plant just in front of my laptop that I am writing these words on.
It is not a remarkable plant. But its simple beauty in the vibrant purple colour, how it keeps growing on just a little water and sunshine and the faint smell of nature is something simple I feel grateful for.
Another thing that I am grateful for today – that I may sometimes take for granted – was my breakfast. It was a beautiful smoothie made for me by my wife. It was delicious. And, more importantly, I don’t have to go hungry. I am in the very fortunate position of being able to eat breakfast every day. Not everyone around us has that.
So, ask yourself:
Opening your eyes to the small and daily things you can appreciate lets you truly see more of the simple beauty in life.
But how do you get the gratitude habit to stick and not just become one of those things you forget about or abandon after a few days?
Two things that I have found effective and might work for you are:
Try one of these tiny time commitments every day for a week and see how it impacts your life.
Remember to be grateful and express that.
Don’t just keep the gratitude on the inside. Express it.
Make other people happier too by expressing how you are grateful for having them in your life. Plus, their smile and the joy in their eyes when you tell them this will make you happier too. Words cost nothing but can have a lasting effect.
So tell the people in your life how grateful you are of them. And a promise to myself is not to leave expressing gratitude until a birthday comes along…