I believe in appreciating what you have when you have it. When I was growing up, I lived in the mountains of North Carolina. When I say I lived in the mountains, I mean it. None of this “I was in range of the mountains” or “I could see the mountains from where I lived”; I lived on a mountain. I can remember running around in the woods, picking flowers and mushrooms to float in the stream behind our house. My very favorite was walking in the woods in summer and picking wild black raspberries. There was this great beauty surrounding me, and I never truly appreciated it. And why should I when it was just a part of my everyday life. When I was seven, my family moved down the mountain to the “foothills.” I could still see the mountains, but it just was not the same. There were no forests to play in or mountain streams to splash in; we had to make do with a low-flowing creek and a grassy field. It felt like I had been bumped from first-class to coach.
For a long time, I missed our home in the mountains and the times that I had spent in our little piece of the forest. It is not that I never got to go back to the mountains; my grandparents live there, and we visit frequently. But it was just never the same. Our backyard was far inferior to my slice of forest. There were not even any black raspberries briars! I did not realize how much I missed the mountains until I was away from them. I learned to displace my ache for the mountains with visits to my grandparents and fond thoughts of my former home.
From that point on, I learned to enjoy things while I had them. I do not just apply that to the material things in life but extend it to include experiences and challenges I face. If I am with some friends that I know I will not see again for a month or two, I focus on enjoying their company instead of worrying about what to say or do next. I have learned to enjoy the beauty of a moment instead of rushing through everything to get “ahead.” It has made my life less stressful, and my memories better formed. By appreciating the things that I have at this moment, I have found that my life is more fulfilling. And for that I am thankful.
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