Time Well Spent: Nurturing Gratitude In Your Life

Time is what we so desperately try to hold onto even though it doesn’t think to hold onto us. I often think about the concept of time, what is it measuring? Our age, our feebleness, our brain’s capacity. Does it care about our body’s age? Our kids’ age?

Time only keeps track of the seconds, minutes, and hours that separate day from night. It doesn’t pay mind to our aging bodies, our struggles, our worries, our fears, our everyday lives. Time cares only for itself.

When I was a child I remember my mom’s voice yelling, “Come and eat,” from down the stairs after what seemed like hours of cooking and making sure every last detail of her day’s masterpiece was perfectly set. My mom is the voice that kept us on our toes and the voice that made us laugh in tears. My mom spent her time with us. All the seconds, minutes, and hours that made up her day and night, she gave to us, freely, without any doubt or fear.

I remember my dad’s humor when I was a child, he carefully placed his words in an order that evoked laughter and joy. My dad’s unexpected joke while making his morning cup of joe. His afternoon wit while conversing with my mother. His deep voice vibrates off the walls, letting us know it’s time to get up. My dad spent his time providing for us. All the seconds, minutes, and hours that made up his day and night, he gave to us without hesitation.

As this November meets us at our front porch, our kids’ schools, our apartment, our business, our garden, and on our drive to and from home, let the thought be “I am grateful.” As the month continues, and you get your kid’s turkey-hand cutouts from school, let the thought be “I am grateful.” When you see the turkey being gently placed on the dinner table, let the thought be “I am grateful.”

Make November and the coming months, a time for thankful thoughts, gratitude makes us better, it makes us more appreciative and whole. Here are ten ways you can make your seconds, minutes, and hours appeal to your inner greatness:

  1. Tell the people you love you are appreciative of them. It is as simple as it reads. Don’t make too much of it. Pick up your phone or visit them and tell them how much they mean to you. Vulnerability is cheesy and uncomfortable for some people but necessary in creating and maintaining relationships and friendships.
  2. Say thanks to your babysitter, your doctor, and your counselor. These people are human, too. They appreciate thank you’s and although you think they hear it enough, one more time still counts. Child Showing Gratitude to Doctors
  3. Thank yourself for everything you do every day. Remember like an engine to a car, you are what keeps yourself going. You get yourself up in the morning and go about your day. You are important!
  4. Savor the good moments and memories. Be in the moment and be happy for the moment. Just as the pendulum swings, there will be good times and not-so-great times. Focus on the good!
  5. Appreciate the simple things. We all want to make big statements and do the next important thing. Remember when you get to the “big” it’s not the “big” that sticks with you, it’s all the small steps, the trivial things along the way that stick out the most.
  6. Volunteer your time to help others. Seeing life through your lens is not the way the world appears; you have to try different lenses to get an idea of how things are. See the world from the lens of someone else and broaden your understanding and perspective. Young adults showing their community gratitude through volunteer trash clean up
  7. Be kind to others. To know what the next person is feeling or going through is not easy to figure out. Showing kindness and care can go a long way in figuring things out.
  8. Encourage others. When you walk or run to the top of the mountain remember to lend your hand to others and lift them. Just as you want the best for yourself, want the best for others.
  9. Engage in random acts of kindness. Step outside your day-to-day routine and spread your care, kindness, love, and respect to others by making their day. You can create a ripple effect by doing just one kind of thing.
  10. Smile! Just smile, a smile can change someone’s mood, day, week, or month for the better. A smile is love! Happy, smiling family in car with dog

Time ticks on with or without our concerns, worries, struggles, and fears. As you go about your business, think about the seconds, minutes, and hours that make up your day and night. How do you want to spend the time that is already slipping away?

Written by: Amy Flores LPC, NCC