Take a good look at your life and tell me…do you like what you see? Now, I’m not just talking about your physical appearance or the decor in your home or office here. I’m talking about the circumstances that you find yourself in right now. Do you take the time to notice the good and the beautiful that you have in your life right at this very moment? Or, are you too overwhelmed with just trying to get through the day that you rarely bother to open your eyes and appreciate the beauty that is right in front of you?
I have a confession to make…I am guilty of this lack of appreciation far more often than I’d care to admit. It’s not that I don’t know that my world is full of wonder and magic (as is true for ALL of us; no matter our circumstances–there is always something beautiful to be appreciated), it’s just that I often don’t bother to take the time to notice. For me, this happens because I am, by nature, a striver. No matter how awesome my current circumstances may be, I always seem to be striving for something even better. This isn’t necessarily a bad trait to have–I mean, striving for a better life is what helped me to escape an emotionally unhealthy relationship, recover from a devastating eating disorder and find a truly FabYOUlous life. However; in my constant striving, I often forget to look around and appreciate the amazingness that is right in front of my face.
Fortunately, a simple hiking trip helped me to realize the immense value in pausing to appreciate the beauty of the moment while yet striving to reach an end goal. Recently, my hubby and I took a mini vacation to the town of Glenwood Springs, Colorado (I am so blessed to live in the breathtakingly beautiful state of Colorado where we are literally surrounded on all sides by gorgeous scenery) so that we could spend some time soaking in the natural hot springs and do a little hiking. While in Glenwood, we decided to spend one afternoon doing the Hanging Lake Hike which is just outside of town. This particular hike is my favorite hike in all of Colorado. It isn’t easy, but it is a fairly short (albeit steep) hike that is doable for most people if you just allow yourself enough time and rest along the way.
Well, in true striver fashion, my tendency is to set my sights on my goal (in this case, Hanging Lake) and get to it. I tend to develop blinders as I keep my “eye on the prize” so to speak. This tactic always gets me to Hanging Lake, but unfortunately it also causes me to miss out on a lot of the beauty along the way. On this particular hike however; I was forced to take some time to look around because this time I was accompanied on the hike by my hubby and his notoriously bad knees. I’m not gonna lie–at first I was a little annoyed that my big, strong husband (who spends hours at the gym every week) was holding me up. Yes–I knew that years of climbing up and down ladders had decimated the cartilage in his poor knees but c’mon…I had places to be!
As it became more clear to me that my hubby was not going to pick up his pace, I eventually settled in for what I was sure was going to be the world’s longest hike and that’s when the strangest thing happened…beautiful waterfalls, gorgeous trees and fun little ground squirrels suddenly appeared out of nowhere.
Okay, okay–obviously that isn’t true. Those elements were always there, but this was the first time that I had actually taken the time to really notice them. Before when I had done this hike, I was always so focused on reaching Hanging Lake that I hadn’t “bothered” to enjoy the journey to Hanging Lake.
As I take a look at my day to day life, I can see that this Hanging Lake hike experience is symbolic of my life in general. How many times has my striving personality kept me so focused on my end-game that I’ve missed the beauty and joy that has been right under my nose? How many times have I missed out on reaching for a hug because I was so focused on reaching for a goal?
I now have a better understanding of the value of finding joy in the journey and I am making a more conscious effort to slow down the pace occasionally and savor the blessings of the moment. This doesn’t mean that I’m no longer goal oriented, after all–Hanging Lake is gorgeous and is a wonderful reward for all who embark on the hike. Nor does this mean that I am abandoning my tendency to strive for more once a goal has been reached, because just beyond Hanging Lake is Spouting Rock, an awesome waterfall that you can walk behind and enjoy an incredible view.
No, these tendencies will always be a part of my genetic makeup and am totally fine with that as they serve me well on many levels. What this does mean however is that I am learning to pause and look for bits of beauty and magic in my life as I travel along the path to my over reaching goals. I’ve come to realize that no matter how chaotic or stressful my life becomes, there is ALWAYS something beautiful to be savored if I just take the time to look for it. I am confident that this is the case for ALL OF US. So…live your life and strive for your goals, but also take some time every day to appreciate the magic of the present moment. I promise you–the view is FabYOUlous.