A recent conversation with my 10-year-old son made me reflect on the value of appreciation; I'd like to share some of those observations with you now. David was complaining that his chores and soccer were hampering his play time on the weekends. He acted as if his plans were being shattered by these intrusions.
In our ensuing discussion, I noted that the actual facts didn't really support his disappointment. We computed his waking hours for the weekend (Friday night, Saturday and Sunday) - more than 34 total hours. From that, we subtracted two hours of soccer and almost one hour of chores. This left him with a mere 31 hours to play with his friends each weekend.
While 31 hours of free time seemed like a great deal to me, it just wasn't enough for him. It made me wonder if any amount of time would satisfy him. Recognizing David's lack of appreciation for the gift of free time, I asked him how he would feel if he had no play time whatsoever. He was quick to let me know he wouldn't like that at all.
With that premise established, I tried to help him see how important it was to appreciate the time he did have. I felt so strongly about this point that I let him know I was willing to eliminate his weekend play time completely if that's what it would take for him to learn to appreciate things more.
It's not hard to see how this same truth can be applied to our current economic situation. The investment world is no longer looking for double-digit growth. They are somehow happy with only single-digit losses. People suddenly appreciate the very same jobs they were totally dissatisfied with a year ago. And a vacation to a less-than-glamorous destination is seen as almost extravagant to many.
In the end, it's a matter of attitude and outlook. As a close friend of mine reminded both of us years ago, we have been blessed to be doing a lot better than either one of us ever imagined when we graduated from college. It seems as if it has taken a recession to get many people to appreciate what they have (or had).
But in this American culture of more is better, how can we ever be satisfied? And if we can't be satisfied, how can we ever be truly happy? The realities are that life is short, glory is fleeting, and everything you acquire will eventually belong to someone else. That being said, it is unlikely most of us will ever find true satisfaction and lasting happiness in fortune or fame. There will always be something more we can accomplish or own. There will always be someone else to whom we can compare ourselves; someone who has much more of both.
The hottest investment for your money will likely be forever debated, but it is unquestionable that appreciating what you have will help foster the right attitude about material possessions. Happiness, satisfaction and the other "intangibles" of life are based on who you are, what you do and the people with whom you share your life. While these are tested in challenging times, they will grow in "value" and earn dividends based upon the time you invest and the love you pour into them.
Focusing on how you live your life will give you direction that, if followed, can give you the joy, peace and love most of us are searching for but don't find nearly often enough. So appreciate your good health, your family, your chiropractic practice, your ability to help people get and stay well - everything that makes your life so incredibly worthwhile.
Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.