If you’re like many people, you expect that tomorrow will be easier, better, and less stressful than today is. Do you ever find yourself saying, “I am exhausted. I’ll get some sleep next weekend when this project is done” or “I don’t have time to exercise while I’m raising three kids. I’ll exercise when they’re older”?
But the reality is that there is no guarantee that tomorrow will be simpler or better than today is. So if something is important to you, like taking care of yourself by getting enough sleep and exercise, then you’ll want to find a way to incorporate it into your life now. For when tomorrow comes, you may not be physically able to exercise or you may be less healthy after years of sleep deprivation and stress.
One of the keys to being happy is being grateful for and appreciating life exactly as it is today. That means you’re not living for someday when things will be better, you’ll have more money, you’ll have time to take care of your health, you’ll eat better, you’ll go back to school, etc.
When you can notice and enjoy the experiences you’re having today, then you will feel more peaceful and content. And yes, this means being grateful for the challenges and difficulties in life, as well as for the easy, fun times.
“But how can I be grateful for the tough times?” We’re certainly not taught how to think this way, so it’s no surprise that many people have this question. When we can see all of life as a gift, even the rough days, we will find a sense of peace that stays with us and a feeling of calm that is ever present.
Here’s an example: Claudio and his wife Luisa shop at second-hand stores in order to furnish their apartment and clothe themselves. They buy in bulk from Costco and split the supplies with their neighbors. They believe in reusing and rehabbing things they find in others’ trash piles. While financially their life is challenging on a daily basis, Claudio and Luisa are madly in love. They get creative in their efforts to find inexpensive ways to show their love to one another. Claudio picked flowers (with permission) from a neighbor’s garden, and Luisa asked around till she got Claudio’s grandmother’s recipe for his favorite dish so she could make it for him. They are not able to buy expensive gifts or take nice vacations, but this in no way dulls their experience of life and love.
I encourage you to take a moment and examine your thoughts about your life today. Are there times when you are counting on things being better tomorrow? If so, see if you can shift your thinking so that you are instead finding things that you appreciate in your life now. Focus on what you’re grateful for, even if it’s fresh air, blue skies and the sun coming up another day.
There is always something we can appreciate in this moment, if we only look and make it a priority. How will you remember to stop living for the promise of tomorrow, and focus on enjoying the present instead?