It started as a normal day. Until I learnt that my sister’s friend had lost her mum the previous week. This woman’s sudden death took me down memory lane to an article I sent my newsletter subscribers in 2013. I share that article here and hope that it helps you appreciate life more.

The week started with my son getting an ear infection on a Monday morning. This meant that I had to put down my work, take him to hospital, and then to school.

My day was gone in a flash due to this, and I now had pending work.

Come Friday morning, and my other son got an asthma attack just as he was getting ready for school. He had signs of a normal cold the previous night and I’d ignored it because he had no fever.

My previous job in a medical research centre taught me that ‘Mafua itapona yenyewe’ (‘A cold or flu will heal on its own’) to quote one of the research doctors. This mantra had worked for me for about 7 years, but not this time!

Unfortunately, this mafua (cold) was not going away. Neither was it healing on its own. In less than an hour, the mafua had turned into a full-fledged asthma attack.

My son hadn’t had an asthma attack for 2 years and I thought that he had outgrown the condition. This attack hit us all like a thunderstorm. I once again put my work aside and spent most of the day in hospital.

Luckily, we caught it in time so he didn’t need hospitalization. However, he required constant monitoring and bed rest that day. Now, this is a very active boy so getting him to rest was a challenge.

Consequently, I lost a second workday that week and my work piled up some more.

It never rains, it pours!

Additionally, on Saturday morning I found that my househelp had been stealing from me. I let her go and started looking for a new one.

I really hate the process of training and settling in new househelps. So the thought of going through that almost drove me nuts!

By Saturday afternoon, I was bushed. And I still had to prepare for the next week – with an agenda that included:

  • Housework and cooking.
  • Groceries shopping.
  • Looking for a new househelp.
  • Making up for missed coaching sessions.
  • Writing blog and newsletter articles.
  • Marketing.
  • Business admin and accounts.
  • …a whole load of stuff that was sitting there waiting for me to complete it.

I felt frazzled and tired of it all.

Related article: 7 Self-Care Tips For The Modern Woman

The turnaround

Luckily, I had a chat with a good friend who got me out of the funk. Her comments gave me food for thought. I went to bed thinking about her comments, woke up thinking, and spent the next day thinking.

My friend simply noted that I had moved from being a positive person and started focusing on the things that were going wrong. I was complaining about my children’s illnesses, the pending work, my househelp, and creating negative ‘What if…’ scenarios.

By the end of the chat with my friend, it was clear that I needed to shift my focus from the things that were going wrong, and start being grateful for the things that were working well in my life.

For example, despite the hiccups that week:

  • Though my children got sick, they did not require hospitalization.
  • I was still working on my dreams and goals.
  • I was working in my dream job (and business).
  • My amazing clients, who were all mothers, understood my challenges and were OK with rescheduling their sessions.
  • Having a home-based business allowed me to take time off when my children needed me (no boss to ask for permission).
  • I could create a temporary schedule that incorporated housework.
  • I was lucky to have caught my househelp in time (before she stole some more).

In other words, it could have been worse…but it wasn’t!

I had to get back on track and remember to appreciate life.

There are many times when we fall into the trap of assuming that the road ahead will always be smooth. And so we live life as if we are immune to disaster.

We wake up in the morning, go through the motions of the day, go back home in the evening, sleep, and repeat the cycle each day.

Sometimes, we can go for days without taking time to appreciate life.

The events of that week woke me up to the fact that I had taken my life, health, family, mind, home, clients, family – everything about me and what I care about – for granted for a long time. It was time to change.

Related article: How to Create Time For Yourself

Appreciate life and the free things it offers

These events were a reminder:

  • That being healthy and alive is a gift and not a given.
  • That my children do not actually belong to me. God has blessed me by allowing me to be their mother. They are a gift and not a chore.
  • That each day is a gift: the people and events in my life are my gifts and teachers too.
  • To be grateful that my work is my passion – I earn a living doing what I love.
  • That I’m building my dream business one day and one client at a time.
  • To stop focusing on the things that aren’t working and focus on the strides I’m making.
  • To always appreciate where I am at today, even as I work towards a better tomorrow.

I was being reminded that the most important things on earth are things that I cannot purchase; they come for free:

  • Good health.
  • Family.
  • Friends.
  • Love.
  • Happiness and joy.
  • A good joke (and laughter).
  • Companionship.
  • Nature.
  • The air we breathe.
  • …(add a few of your own).

You cannot buy any of these and no one can give them to you. They are free.

Yet, many people don’t appreciate these simple things because they are busy working. They’re looking for money, fame, and recognition. Others are busy being unhappy about the things that they don’t have yet. They forget to appreciate life and the seemingly unimportant things that come for free.

“One day at a time – this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past, for it is gone. And do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful that it will be worth remembering.”
Ida Scott Taylor 1820-1915, Author

There’s more to life than we can imagine

Take a look at your life right now.

  • Do you like what you see?
  • Are you taking life or some parts of your life for granted?
  • What exactly have you been taking for granted?
  • What are you currently overlooking in your life?
  • Which gifts have you forgotten in your quest to make your life ‘better’?

Are you going to wait for a wake-up call, for a time when you don’t have these gifts, in order for you to appreciate them?

Take time to appreciate life. Enjoy the gifts that life brings you for free. Appreciate these gifts and look for more reasons to be grateful, starting today.

For no matter where you are in life, no matter what you are going through today, no matter the size of your challenges, things could have been worse.

That is a major lesson in life.

(Photo by Masaaki Komori on Unsplash)

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