A Thousand Reasons to Smile

Living in a modern country in an era filled with ample time to think, a myriad of choices and substantial leisure time it is easy to forget things have not always been. Delving into that line of thinking is something I do occasionally to get myself pointed into a more optimistic and appreciative direction.

I begin by taking stock of my perceived problems:  Economics cause my work to be the most challenging of my life. My age is a subject of some consternation. My health is good overall, but a back injury ails me. Being single is my choice, but loneliness is a factor more than I want. A relationship with someone special in my life has been challenging and has an uncertain future. While a long way into recovery, I still have issues from childhood that mess me up emotionally here and there.

In my life are: a lovely home and handsome furnishings, a good job, love of dear friends, someone special in my life, a choice of more than one vehicle to drive, much better than average income and resources, very good health overall, caring friends, a close relationship with my son, coworkers I enjoy a lot, a spiritual path that lights my way and so much more.

When I simply slow down and take stock for a short while of the perceived challenges, conditions, benefits and assets of my life, I become humbled. That humility comes from awakening more strongly an awareness of how easy, blessed and rich my life is.

Had my time been a hundred years ago I’d likely not even still be here since the average life expectancy for men was 47 years (I’m 58). There would have been a 20% chance reading and writing would have exceeded my ability. If I had a good job my pay would probably not have exceeded $1,000 per year with a work week of at least sixty hours or more.

Any doctor I might have gone to would not have had a college education at a time when pneumonia and tuberculosis were the most feared diseases. The toilet at my home would probably not have been indoors and my transportation would have been by horse or a trolley. And just for a reference point, in 1912 there was no canned beer, iced tea and almost no one had a home telephone.

Amazingly simple how just taking myself through that train of thought improves my outlook on life. It was not bad to begin with as I am a generally grateful and appreciative person. However, when I focus on ‘was is’ instead of ‘what isn’t’, that ‘glass half full’ attitude brings me to the great comfort and gratitude found in seeing how wonderful my life is.

When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry,
show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.