I like to treat Thanksgiving as a time to take to heart the concept of not taking things for granted. Calling it “Don’t Take Things for Granted Day” would be awkward, but it conveys the concept.
In a post I wrote in December 2006, I shared with readers a little trick I taught myself, which truly brings the concept home. I’d like to remind you about it now — or introduce you to the trick, if you weren’t reading me in 2006.
The rest of that evening, I pictured myself as having been sent into my body from the future, to relive the moments I was experiencing. And I saw everything differently. I sat on the couch and watched television with my arm around my wife — all the while imagining myself as an old man, transported back in time to relive that moment. And all of a sudden, what otherwise might have seemed like a mundane moment seemed like a privilege. I felt like the luckiest guy in the world, just sitting there with my wife.
I’ve tried the trick all weekend, and it really changes your outlook. Just sitting around with a sleepy child in your arms is great any way you look at it. But if you picture yourself as someone whose child has grown up — if you imagine yourself as an older man, who would give the world to be back in that chair with that child in his arms — it makes you realize how important the moment is. And you appreciate it more.
As I said in that post: “Some day, you’ll miss almost everything about your life the way it is right now.” My wife said that her dad once expressed the same concept to her by saying (I’m paraphrasing): “Can you be nostalgic for things that are happening right now?”
I think you can, if you take a second to think about it. And then you’ll appreciate even more the fact that you’re in that nostalgic time right now.
I said in that post: “Like any epiphany, I know that this will pass, to be remembered only from time to time.”
But try it today. Picture yourself twenty years in the future, thinking back to today — this very day. Think how fondly you would remember these moments. Then realize that you’re getting to experience them, right now.
And then get the hell off the computer and go appreciate them.
Go. Right now.
I’ll see you tomorrow.