“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” -John F. Kennedy
One of the great things about traveling to another place is the change in perspective. If anybody steps out of Canada, one quickly sees how good we have it. Of course things could be better, and we work as a society to improve ourselves, but we are pretty spoiled. The standard of living in this country is amazing compared to the majority of the world, and our current living conditions are astronomically better than those of previous centuries. If you ate a piece of a chocolate at any point this year, you experienced what was once reserved only for the mayan kings of Central America.
With winter reminding us of the negative aspects of living in this great place, it can sometimes be difficult to stay optimistic. Its normal that when things aren’t going as ideally as they could, that we fall into a bit of a mental trap. It can be hard to catch ourselves complaining, but for the most part, our complaints are just excuses. The easiest remedy that we have come across is a simple shift in focus: rather than focusing on what we are lacking, we need to pay attention to what we have.
There is room for consumerism even though we usually have enough already. Obviously there have been many innovations that have drastically improved our standard of living over time but we quickly forget how happy we were when we received the original item. That happiness wears off, our things are taken for granted and the cycle continues.
It seems as though our high levels of anxiety in the west are associated with more than just the high cost of living. With current trends in social media and the rapid changes happening in the technology industry, it can be hard to keep up. We are constantly bombarded by a world in which comparison to one another seems to be an easy default. It can truly have damaging effects on our lives in the short term, and we haven’t understood the implications of this in the long run.
There is also a reason why minimalism movements are starting to catch traction. People are starting to ask themselves what it is that they need? What is it that makes us happy? There is certainly nothing wrong with having things, but we should at least try and use the things that we have.
What happens though, it seems, is that we simply get used to having things. More importantly, the main point here is not necessarily a focus on our material objects, but rather our personal health and relationships. How often do we lay focus to the fact that we can see, or walk ? Or that we have grandparents still? These norms that we experience become norms, and it takes active action to realize that they are gifts.
‘You don’t know what you have until it’s gone’ is not a lesson that we need to keep relearning. By taking up a daily practice of expressing gratitude for something or someone that you have, we can all live richer lives now in the present moment.
We are grateful that there is a medium to express and distribute our stream of consciousness to the world. The Lifestyle Project loves organizing travel for others because we believe that experiences last longer than materials and that sharing time with people will improve the quality of our lives.
Let’s be grateful for everything that we have.
Let’s change the way we travel, together.
The Lifestyle Project