More To That

An illustrated, long-form blog that delves deeper into the things that make us who we are.

How to Be Thankful for Your Life with One Simple Reset

Every day you traverse the terrain of life.

On most days, the ground feels pretty damn flat.

You get up each day at a certain time, you have a specific place to go to, you see familiar faces, and you have some expected role to play. There’s nothing more effective than the structure of a routine, but your adherence to it creates the feeling that nothing much happens on a day-to-day basis.

But the reality, of course, is far from that.

It may feel like you’re walking on a flat surface, but every day, the ground is being shaped and built by the layers of experience.

Some of these experiences feel momentous. Maybe you just got married, had your first child, got a new job, or just moved to a new city.

However, the terrain usually doesn’t change this rapidly. It is sculpted slowly by the hands of time, aided in this endeavor by the winds of change.

The elements that make up your life are fairly consistent: your family, your friends, your work, and your values are central to who you are. But the layers of experience continuously adds texture to the ground, shaping these core elements as time goes by.

This crucial addition of everyday experience allows your life to build up significantly, whether you realize it’s happening or not.

Today might feel the same as yesterday…

But zoom out far enough, and you’ll see that this decade of your life looks nothing like the last one.

In the haze of everyday routine, it’s easy to forget how much you’ve traveled and how everyone in your life has supported this journey for you. The familiarity of the present moment often creates the illusion that everything has always been this way, when in reality, your life has been built and shaped to heights that were previously unreachable.

Gratitude is when you take a moment to pause and appreciate the breathtaking view.

Most of the experiences that have brought you to this place are long forgotten, but the people that provided them remain close to your heart.

Gratitude is taking stock of these very people that have built the terrain you stand on now, and being thankful that they’ve lifted you to this beautiful place. And if you’re fortunate enough to have access to them today, you can bring them with you to appreciate the view.

This type of gratitude is great, but sadly, it is all too easily forgotten.

Life familiarizes us with its contents, and we are quick to take things for granted. Your amazing spouse becomes a person you see everyday, your children become screaming humans that need to be kept alive, and your fulfilling job becomes a checklist of things that just need to get done.

Being grateful for a day-to-day baseline is hard, especially if everything is wrapped up in routine. So rather than appreciating a view that you’ve seen hundreds of times already, here’s a more effective way of conjuring up gratitude:

For a moment, imagine that you had no view at all.

Imagine if everything you had was inexplicably stripped out from underneath you. Your family, your friends, your health, everything.

Is there any way to describe how much you would give, just to be back at your default state again?

If everyone you loved suddenly lost their memory of you, how hard would you work to convince them of who you were? Would a whole lifetime be enough to rebuild these relationships to where they are today?

If you fell gravely ill, would there be anything more desirable than the health you have now? How much would you savor the moments you got to spend on your interests and hobbies without a real care in the world?

This would make you realize just how high your mountain is, and how fortunate you are to have everything you have. You would give anything just to have the day that awaits you today, and you’d do everything in your power to hold onto it as dearly as you could.

But the good news, of course, is that this mountain is your reality.

You stand atop it now, and you’re capable of accessing all the people you love and all the experiences that bring you joy. You’ve been given one life to live, and this amazing existence is the one you’ve been gifted.

On a day-to-day basis, it’s easy to lose sight of this truth. So whenever you’re feeling a bit thankless or disgruntled, imagine what it’d be like to lose everything, then reset yourself back to your present condition, back atop the beautiful mountain that is your life.

You will quickly realize how fortunate you are to be you.


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Related Posts:

Thankfully, Life Is Full of Problems

The Finality of Everything

The Garden You Can Touch


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