Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Value Added

women's barbour jacket and tuckernuck americana sweater

'Value what you have when you have it.'

I read this quote the other day, and it stopped me in my tracks. Such a short, simple statement, right? Yet, somehow it is so profound. (You may also notice the photos have nothing to do with this post-, just sharing an outfit with links I wore this weekend... but definitely valuing that the lighting was great for these photos!)

I am driven. It's a big part of my personality and how I have always been. As a child, I was always motivated to get good grades, do well on the SATs and ACTS, stay out of trouble, work hard to achieve things like being varsity cheerleading captain, and get into a college on my list. Check. Check. Check. When I got to college, again, I was motivated to get good grades, be on my sorority's executive board, and make President's list, and that's when I started my blog. Even now, for example, I am motivated to work out 3-5x per week not only because it feels good but because I know it's good for my health, and I'm thinking ahead, hopeful it will benefit me in the long run. 

I have always been working towards things and moving through life with vigor. In most facets of life, I don't lack motivation or self-discipline... this is all just a part of who I am and how I am wired. 

However, there are downsides to this. How I am wired often keeps me from staying present or calming down to soak in what I have right now at this moment... it's something I need to work on constantly. I am the captain of my life and I feel like all I ever say is 'full steam ahead,' missing the scenery going by. If I were going just a little slower, I'd be able to take it all in more detail. 

A super simple example: I'm on the treadmill at Orange Theory, 5 minutes into the workout, supposed to be focusing on my fitness, and I'm running on the treadmill, but in my head, I am making to-do lists of what I need to get done after the class is over rather than focusing on my breathing, the way my feet and legs feel on the incline, etc. I'm always on to the next thing before the previous thing even begins. 

Writing this sounds weird and borderline hypocritical because I practice daily gratitude, which has been positively impacting my life in a big way. There isn't a day where I don't think, 'man, I am so grateful for XYZ.' Even on my bad days, I always find things to be grateful for. 

I think the quote I shared at the beginning of this post goes beyond practicing gratitude and made me think of things even deeper. 

For example, when I was in college, I don't think I was grateful for my lack of responsibility. I've always been very responsible and have always been happy to take on more responsibility. So I don't want to make it sound like I was just goofing off and all of that, but my main goal in college was to do well and graduate and not much more than that (thank you, mom and dad). At the time, it felt like a huge responsibility. Studying and getting good grades is a lot, so I don't want to discount that. But I don't think I valued that- my eyes were always set on the horizon ahead- graduating and the grades given out at the end of each semester. I was not necessarily valuing what I had, even though it was something I didn't even know that I had at the time. It kind of reminds me of the Counting Crows lyrics, 'don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you got 'til it's gone.'

I thought about a photo from my parent's wedding and how they looked so young. I look back at our wedding photos, a year and seven months ago, and we look the same. It made me think about how I will never be younger than I am right now, and I should cherish that because one day, I will look back at our wedding photos and utter the sentence, 'wow, we look like babies.'

On the other hand, less big picture and more day-to-day, I should be valuing days where I don't have anxiety. I struggle with it, though I manage it well with good sleep and exercise. However, I still have bad days. I should celebrate the 'good' days more than lament the 'bad' days. 

I thought of so many more, but I don't dare share them with you all... I'm not superstitious, but I don't want to jinx anything by sharing aloud!!! It opened my mind to even more to be grateful for right now at this moment. I have so much, and sometimes I move SO fast, it's hard to see. 

Sometimes, when I am down or having a bad day, or feel rushed by life, I will remind myself of this quote, and hopefully, it will return me to the present and allow me to slow down to take in the scenery and remember that each day is a gift!  

Hopefully, this post inspires you to take a deep breath, slow down, and value all you have! Harder than it sounds sometimes. 


Anonymous said...

Value added indeed! Not one to comment, this one moved me into action - thank you so much for one of greatest posts! Much appreciated. Beth

Marla said...

The song lyrics are actually from Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi,” written before you were born! If you Google it, you’ll see that it’s about taking nature for granted. A perfect fit to this post. No need to post this; I thought you’d find it interesting. Thanks.

SGraves said...

Thank you! I needed this post today. I start almost every morning reading your blog! I love it and look forward to it.

Melanie said...

Great post and so true. I often think the exact same thing looking at family pictures…everyone looking so young, making the most of this day and not being any younger than I am right now!


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