Some day, perhaps soon, our lives will change dramatically. This is a guarantee. To quote an old adage; 'it's not if, but when.' For many it already has.
Our lives are filled with familiar surroundings which, for the most part, we take for granted; people, places, things. Of these most will never change; our religious centers; our banks; schools; where we shop; sports arenas, natural areas, will all be more or less the same throughout our lifetimes. Where we played as children we may well sit and contemplate memories in later years.
Our most important life treasures are often the most under-acknowledged; the people who surround us. They are the most fragile and delicate in terms of relationships and longevity. They can be quite literally, here today, gone tomorrow.
People die. We all do. Who, when, where is unknown. It will happen. Some day we too will exist only in someone's memory. Tomorrow? Next week? Next year? What we leave behind is up to us. We can start by ensuring that everyone who has touched us - whom we touch - knows that we appreciate them for who and what they are.
A developed, mature, sense of appreciation should be a central aspect of our lives while we are living. It is so because it is the most important emotional variable that we can have control over.
We can choose (or not) to appreciate the company we keep, from our significant other, our children, parents - our co-workers. There are hierarchies of importance of course. Family first. Friends second and so on.
The saddest moment will be the morning we wake up and find that our spouse or a close friend is gone. How doesn't matter, but the day will come; as a result of old age, illness, an unforeseen event. It will happen. A friend, a best friend perhaps, a soul mate, a lover will be gone forever.
How we prepare for that stark moment will depend on the work we put into the relationship now. If life is a painting, relationships and people are the texture. That texture takes nurturing.
The payoff will come in the darkest moments knowing that we did everything to enjoy our time together and knowing that we let that special person know that we appreciated them; and why. Sadness will be intermingled by the satisfaction and comfort of a life well-lived through good times and bad; a life in the close company of another.
Assuming that our lives will be the same, day after day, is a lesson in abject naivety. Look around and learn from the experience of others; you'll see scattered remnants of dead friends and families everywhere. All of this may have already touched us, or for now seems reassuringly distant. The distance is a trick however; an anomaly. Change is statistically and realistically very close. It just hasn't happened to us - yet.
Take a moment and examine the people in your life.
Who is it that you need to be closer to; to apologize to; to thank; to hug, to hold, to contact, to call? When is the best time to reach out? How about now? Go ahead, reach out; this is important.
Demonstrating appreciation is a brave and emotionally fulfilling responsibility. It takes great effort to make the effort, but it costs nothing. The results are fulfilling for us and for the people we take the time to acknowledge. Leaving with them a sense that they are valued, loved, accepted for who they are.
Don't wait. Life's memories are all the more comforting wrapped in the warm blanket of appreciation.
All the more so if you are the one who initiates it.
Evin Daly - firstname.lastname@example.org