It took a pandemic for me to realize this.
“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” — Eckhart Tolle
We don’t realize what we have until we lose it. This is one of our great faults as human beings. Whether it is life, health, our relationships, or anything else, we don’t grasp the value of things until it’s too late.
If Covid-19 has highlighted one thing for me, it is that I have taken too many things for granted in my privileged life. The practice of gratitude is a strong and indispensable tool for life. It is high time that we realized two things: what we are lucky enough to be born with, and what we should appreciate having (instead of constantly looking for more) because we have obtained it at the price of many efforts.
I used to check the status of my bank account, find cheap airline tickets on an online comparator, pack my suitcase, and leave. As simple as that. Now I’ve been forced to postpone my digital nomad project for a year, and this frustration has made me realize what a privilege it is to be able to travel.
Just like these 6 other things:
#1: Inhabiting a healthy body
Have you ever noticed that when you have a cold, you miss the simple fact of breathing freely through both nostrils, whereas when you’re healthy, you don’t even pay attention to it anymore?
I got very sick as a child. But I was seven years old and I didn’t know at that time that I was in danger of dying. So it didn’t open my eyes. Now, seeing the number of people affected by Covid-19, I realize how grateful I should be — and am now — to live in a healthy body.
We spend too much time criticizing our bodies. Too big. Too thin. Too much this. Not enough that. Our body is our vehicle of life. It allows us to incarnate on Earth, to embrace our loved ones, to interact with the world, to walk, run, jump. How precious all this is.
Let us grasp the fact of being healthy. It can disappear very quickly.
#2: Being free
There was a time when we could go out whenever we wanted, for as long as we wanted, without having to justify our presence outside. We could go to restaurants, bars, shops, see our friends. Freely. Today, France is under lockdown again, and it feels weird to have to remember to take my certificate with me every time, just in case I meet the police. As if I was doing something wrong.
We are lucky to be free. Not all citizens of the world can say the same. It’s another thing we should never take for granted.
This is one of the most complicated for me at the moment. How I miss this immeasurable freedom to be able to go wherever I want! How stupid I was to complain about a simple delayed flight…
Now I can no longer leave my country or my region. Seeing the world is a chance. Let’s enjoy it twice, even threefold, the next time we get the chance. Because that is also gratitude. To realize it, but also to use this lesson to appreciate things all the more.
#4: Making plans for the future
Remember when we could plan things 6 months in advance? A weekend with friends, a family party, a trip? When we had enough confidence in the future when it seemed safe and predictable enough so that we could look forward to it with serenity.
Those were blessed times. Today we can barely plan what tomorrow will bring. Yesterday my mom went to put gas in her car. When I noticed that she had only filled up half the tank, I asked her why, as it meant she would have to go back soon. She replied, “I don’t know what tomorrow will bring”.
#5: Dancing all night long
I’ve never been much of a party girl. But I had finally learned to enjoy moving my body as best I could to the rhythm of the music all night long. To let myself be overwhelmed by this feeling of intensity, around a crowd plunged into darkness. That time seems so far away. It’s been almost a year now since I’ve partied and danced. I don’t know if things will ever be the same again.
The idea that we might catch a disease didn’t even cross our minds. We were sweating, we were grazing, we were naively having fun.
It’s futile, but if one day I can dance as freely as before, I promise that I will pay attention to it differently.
#6: Seeing people smile
We hardly recognize each other under our masks. We hardly know when people are smiling. We can only see it in their eyes.
This one may look silly too, but we never thought we would have to cover half our face when we went out one day. The streets are like masked balls. It has become a reflex, and “do you have your mask?” the most asked question of 2020. We didn’t see that one coming.
#7: Fearlessly spending time with our loved ones
I can’t go to my grandmother or approach my parents without thinking about it. I am always afraid of infecting them. No more hugs and kisses. Safety distance required.
Human beings need contact. We are now deprived of it. And I don’t see when that could change.
I promise that, in the future, I will try not to take these things, and much more, for granted. It is crucial to stop sometimes, in the middle of our fast-paced lives, and take a moment to realize what we have. Because everything can disappear tomorrow. Even in 10 minutes. But we are too focused on mundane things, and on the ones we name “problems”.
What if you made a list of the things that you miss right now, and that you will never take for granted again?
Let’s grasp, appreciate what we have. Let our feelings of happiness fill our hearts. It’s an excellent cure for a pandemic.