Appreciate: What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
I have really come to appreciate that the most important things in life can’t be bought. I started this year being frustrated at my lack of income, bemoaning all the empty time in my schedule and feeling guilty for not contributing to the family piggy bank.
I was spending plenty of time caring for my grandma and nephew, but neither was generating the level of income I was supposedly capable of obtaining.
Then one day a few months ago, it hit me: the opportunity to make more money in the future would always be there, but this time with loved ones was fleeting.
My grandma is 81 and suffering from post-polio disease. She’s still in her own home but moving around is very difficult and sometimes scary. I spend the mornings and early afternoons during the week with her, assisting with showers, exercises and doctor appointments. Most of the time I’m just there in case she falls or has some other trouble.
As she loves to tell me, her days are numbered (“I don’t think I can last more than another year, Christine”). Of course, neither of us can really know when her (or anyone’s) time will be up. Until then, I treasure every moment I get to spend with her. In the end, those moments are worth more than any salary.
My favorite little guy
The same is true for my nephew. He’s two now and these early months and years will never happen again. He will always be special to me but soon I’ll have my own kids and he’ll be in school; our relationship will never be like it is now. When I look back from my deathbed, I doubt I’ll care that it took me a few years longer to pay off debt and build my savings. I will care, and be thankful, that I spent these precious moments with him.
A show of appreciation
So that’s what I appreciate: time with people I love. Experiences with people I love that not everyone is blessed with. Love I can take with me to the next life; money has no place there. “All you need is love.” Didn’t some group with funny accents say that once?
I try to show my appreciation by being grateful every day for this time I’ve been given. I do my best to take none of it for granted; hopefully, that is enough.