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So the end of the world did not arrive last week as some might have feared.
The thing about impending ends is they give many of us pause for thought.
Whether it’s the end of the world or the end of the year, some of us began to evaluate what we’ve done, what we’ve left to do and what we’ve only dreamed about doing.
I’ve written before about bucket lists and such, but maybe the things to really focus on when any end is imminent are not the laments about what has not been accomplished or opportunities missed. Maybe the more important goal is recognition of the things we’re fortunate to have done or have earned in our lives.
By this I don’t mean giving thanks for what we have. Certainly that is important and not to be dismissed by any means.
But there is something to be said for recognizing — truly examining — the things in one’s life that should not be taken for granted.
By fate, fortune, grace or whatever means you might believe brought them to you, there are some things in our lives that have more significance than their face value.
Friends, family, health, shelter, food and employment.
These are things we often tell ourselves to be thankful for.
And I am truly thankful for those things. There also are many other things I feel are true gifts or accomplishments that often don’t receive our recognition. Some of them are related to those things like family and employment but go deeper.
So I will strive to recognize some of those things in my life.
When my girlfriend, Rebecca Ricks, is happy, I will recognize how truly glad I am to have earned her love so she allows me to share that happiness, just as when she’s sad, I will recognize how truly thankful I am she allows me to try to take some of that sadness away or at least be there until things get better.
When I arrive home after a day at work, I will recognize how fortunate I am to have a canine companion who races to the door to greet me, wagging his tail and jumping up at me with unabashed enthusiasm. I will feel glad he wants my attention, even if many times it’s a ploy to receive doggie treats.
When my father and sister meet with Rebecca and me for our weekly game night, I will recognize and appreciate the laughter and smiles we are able to share. I will appreciate being able to call family members and find myself engaged for an hour as if it were only a few moments. Family is special, but a family who loves each other is a true gift.
When I wake up in the morning, I will recognize I should be thankful that, despite my bleary-eyed mental protests, I did, in fact, wake up in the morning. I should not take for granted that I can walk down the hall and that I am not hindered by any physical or medical limitations.
When I go to bed at night, I will recognize and appreciate the soundness of a sleep largely unburdened by nightmares or troubled by so many potential problems that could exist in one’s life.
When friends visit, I will recognize how prized their warm smiles and hugs are, and I will realize this is something to treasure. So many times the best bonds of friendship are the unspoken ones.
When I write a sentence for a feature story or any number of the other writing projects I undertake, I will recognize the joy I feel at doing something I could not imagine not doing. In a world in which so many people must take a job just to exist, I will recognize my fortune at doing something I love.
When I reach the end of something, I will recognize it is not with regret or remorse I review what has been left to be done, but with gratitude and wonder I will embrace everything that has truly brought me joy.
Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or email@example.com.