In my 30’s and 40’s I rather enjoyed shoveling snow. In fact I was actually grateful for the excuse to exercise while getting a chore done. It was a two for one. Once in my 50’s, I was grateful that several of my neighbors were kind enough to run their snow blowers up and down the driveway every time the snowflakes fell, because my aging bones were not really enjoying the chore any longer. Now that I’m in my 60’s, I ‘m rather grateful to be heading south each year just before the first snowflake falls, to spend my winters in the sun.
It’s interesting to note that what I was grateful for in my 30’s I am running from in my 60’s. It’s not about the situation or circumstance of life but how we perceive it to be in that moment that makes the difference.
I wonder how life would be if we simply decided to be grateful for everything. To find some silver lining in each grey cloud. What if when we are stuck in traffic, we do some simple breathing exercises to pass the time? What if we took it as a gift to have a break in a hectic day? The next time you are in a long line at the post office, bank or grocery store, it may be a good time to pray or to count up in your mind every little good thing that happened to you in the last 24 hours.
The negative circumstance you may think you find yourself in, can actually turn out to be a blessing. Several years ago I lived in the city of Rochester, New York. I barely knew the many neighbors who lived in the apartments in the house I lived in, much less did I know those on either side or across the street. Like many of them, I was a busy young person who rushed into my apartment with less than a wave. However one evening we had a black out in the city. Every single light went dark, as well as every computer, every television set and every CD player. We found ourselves not only in the dark, but without a single thing to do to occupy our time. One by one, we went outside and talked to one other.
I had a grill and a roof top deck, so I invited everyone to bring over their chicken or hot dogs and use my grill. Yep I invited all these strangers that I had barely given a nod to, to come join me for dinner. They started up the stairs carrying coolers with drinks, food and bottles of wine. We began conversations. One fellow brought his guitar, another a harmonica, and one guy lugged up a telescope. The stars shined like …you guessed it…diamonds in the night sky. It was lovely.
I’d never noticed them before.
We took turns gazing at the night sky. A piano played somewhere in the neighborhood. With live music all around us, an abundance of food and drink and real people to share it with, under a blanket of heavenly lights, I got the feeling that this must have been what it was like to live in this world before electricity, before cable, CD’s and MacBook Pro’s. People actually entertained one another. I was grateful for that experience.
No matter what situation you find yourself in, look for something to be grateful for. Will you learn something? Will you appreciate someone? Will you experience something new? Well, that’s up to you I suppose.
Yvonne Conte is a corporate culture expert, motivational humorist, professional speaker, and coach. She has Humor Advantage, Inc. offices in Warners, NY, and Fort Myers, FL, and is the founder of the Day of Joy conference. In addition to being a radio and TV personality, Conte is the author of six books including ‘Serious Laughter.’ Find more information online at www.yvonneconte.com