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A Greater Appreciation

(I spelled appreciation incorrectly at first – using only one ‘p’ – but it needed another 'p' because it’s about experiencing more.)

Do you remember when you were a kid and you would "play" at being an adult?  I remember doing this for hours when I was little. My neighbor friends and I, we would dress up and play "house".  Someone would be the mom, someone would be the dad (in my case, if we were playing with my friend’s older brother, who I happened to have a huge crush on, and he would get assigned to "the husband", and I got to be "the wife", I would be elated.)  Then, my friend (the sister to my neighborhood crush) and my own younger brother would play "the kids", along with a couple other of the kids in the neighborhood, in our game of "house".  It was all so fun, wasn’t it?  When playing, I remember pretending to "cook the dinner" for the "family", or "get the kids ready for school", or dress up and pretend to "go off to work" while at other times I would "stay home to clean the house".

I remember loving this game as a child.  I remember I couldn’t wait to grow up so that I could be an adult, so that I could play it for real.  So that I could create my own home, with my own husband, maybe my own kids and certainly have my own job to go off to.  At times I think to myself now, this still should be fun, shouldn’t it?  Now, as an adult I actually get to dress up, put on work clothes, pay bills, drive a car, and do all those things I always played at wanting to do. But recently it’s become more of a grind.  It feels like more of a burden. 

Then, I think back to my childhood, when I watched my parents doing all of this "adulting", and it’s funny, I don’t ever remember playing my parents' roles when I played house.  I played at some fantasy idea of what I thought being an adult would be like.  Kind of like when I played Barbie's with friends and we’d just reenact some torrid soap opera version of a love tryst, but it was never based on any kind of reality or relationships we actually witnessed in our day to day lives.  When I think back to how my parents actually made being an adult look – the going off to work, the getting the kids ready for school, etc. I don’t remember it being glamourous at all.  I remember it being frenetic – like we were always late, or needing to be rushed to make it somewhere on time, or trying to grab everything we needed for the day, struggling to remember all the bits and pieces, (Did we finish our homework?, Did we eat breakfast?, Does Dad have the keys?, etc.) as we all dash out of the door on our separate ways to school, work, errands, etc.

But what if, as adults now, we could bring back that appreciation that we once had for what being an adult would be like?  What if we could bring back that awe and reverence, that curiosity, and playfulness about it all? 


After my meditation this morning I went into the kitchen to start making tea and suddenly I found myself with this renewed appreciation for all of it.  I caught myself thinking, “Wow, isn’t this fun?  I get to get up and make tea this morning before I go off to work!  Isn’t that cool?  I get to be this "adult person" who gets to wake up and make a hot beverage and then go off to this really cool job that only adults get to do.” 

Then, I went to search for a clean mug to put my tea in and had to open the dishwasher to retrieve a clean glass from the remnants of the past couples day’s messes that I’d finally cleaned up the night before.  And I noticed myself again, appreciating something I typically take for granted every day.  This time it was the dishwasher.  “Wow, isn’t this cool?  I put dirty stuff in this magic box last night and this morning I wake up and the glass I need to use for my tea is clean!  Wow, how cool is that?!?”

Then, it got me to thinking…how many amazing and miraculous things are there right in front of us, that we take for granted each and every day, because it’s become part of what we feel is our boring, stagnant, repetitive routine? What if we could wake up each morning with new, fresh eyes?  Almost like we’re an alien from another planet who has just arrived here in these bodies and for the first time is experiencing... a toilet – “wow, this magical contraption just whisks away all that stinky, smelly, waste stuff that comes out of my body?!?”.  “And wow, what about this thing over here” – “oh, it’s my computer, I get to open it and connect to people all over the world in a single instant?”…”that’s incredible!”  “Oh, and this thing in the garage”… “I get to climb into this magical driving contraption, that looks really cool, and is fun to drive and this is how I get to go to work each day?”  “Wow, how cool is that?!?”  “How much fun is that?!?”  “Isn’t it wonderful to be alive?!?”

My newfound appreciation this morning did allow me to chuckle to myself about one of my favorite jokes from a comedian I'd heard awhile back.  He talks about how angry and grumpy and put out we all get about traveling, especially flying, and that we so totally take it for granted. Like it owes us something.  For example, instead of sitting back in the reality of what we’re actually experiencing and thinking to ourselves, “Wow, isn’t this incredible?  I’m in a metal tube that’s propelling me through the sky at an incredibly fast rate!  Gosh, aren’t we lucky?  Isn’t this amazing that we have the technology to do this?!?”  Instead, we all carry around these massive chips on our shoulders when we travel, like if everything doesn't meet our perfect expectation, we're totally peeved for the entire duration of the trip.  We have a set, locked in expectation of what we’re willing to accept and tolerate as part of our bubble of reality on that journey, and anything that barely brushes up against that expectation or challenges that ideal in some way becomes our mortal enemy that must be battled against in all out warfare at the highest stakes if necessary. 

An example of this is when my husband and I paid to have a premium economy seat on a flight recently and then got bumped back to a different class of seat because someone with a “supposed”  service animal needed to sit in our seats because it was the bulk head.  The minute our invisible barrier of “what was acceptable to us” got triggered (due to our own egos, by the way), we launched into an all-out (mostly internal) verbal assault on whatever or whoever had brushed up against our invisible expectation boundary.  But, if  we only looked at the actual reality of the situation (without being emotionally charged and connected to our expectation, again, because of our egos), we would have been able to see that technically we were only being moved to seats just five rows back from where we originally were.  We were still going to be on the same damn flight, at the same damn time, that still gets us back to our house “on time”, and for what? So that our lazy butts could sit back down on our large-ass couch in front of our boob-tube tv watching the same mindless entertainment, just like we always do the rest of the 364 days that we’re at home.  Because it’s SO important that we get back to that on time without any obstacles! (LOL)  As the Comedian accurately points out in the comedy bit about this topic, instead of what I’ve just described as "the norm", we should all be sitting on a plane, flat out blown away at every second and every minute of the flight at the miraculousness of it all. We’re actually in a metal tube, in the sky, at 30,000 feet over land, that’s flying, and traveling faster than we’ve ever traveled before!  Because, really, isn’t that pretty frickin’ amazing?!?

So, as you get up for work this morning, or start the new journey of your day, or venture off to catch that next flight, can you stop to check in with yourself, and actually notice your surroundings?  Maybe take a moment to pause and reflect and really appreciate all you do have in your life.  Maybe find a little more flexibility in the expectations you’ve set for yourself and your circumstances?  Maybe be willing to let more things go? And maybe not be so attached to the expectations?  Because isn’t this all pretty fucking amazing, if you stop to consider it?!?


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