From the time we are children, it is drilled into our head that nothing in life is free. Everything has a price. You get what you pay for and vice versa. This is supposed to to teach us appreciation for things, as well as the importance of hard work (to get what we want) and success. If you want something bad enough, you’ll work for it. While this is true, it also places so much emphasis on material things and status that I think many people miss the really best things.
Ask yourself: what’s your favorite thing in the world? Most of the time, the things we come up with are free.
Reading a book, sleeping in late on the weekend, a walk on the beach, hugs or affection from children or pets….. these are things I think of and hear most often. Sure, you may have to buy the book, sleeping in may come with a sacrifice of time, if you don’t live near a beach– you have to get there, and children and pets are expensive to care for. That’s not the real point. When you look at it that way, you buy into a negative world view.
I find the things I appreciate the most; and are the most memorable to me, may be what you’d consider residuals.
I hate even using that word because depending on your comprehension of it, it may sound like I’m trivializing it.
Take going on a vacation, for example. Michael and I have found we really like to travel and have dream destinations and vacations we’d like to take in the future. Well, that’s certainly not free, you may be saying to yourself; but after it’s said and done, what was the best part of the vacation? What do you remember the most?
Yes, you probably remember: I went here, I went there; I did this, I saw that– What was really the most memorable part? Was it the plane ticket or hotel? Was it really the location or what you did? For me, I remember the planning and anticipation, and no matter how great or how bad the actual trip is; the very best part of it is time and connection Michael and I have. The experience is great but it’s the shared experience that’s the most memorable.
When the vacation is over, I always hate going back to the routine because then I feel this big disconnect… I crave that time together experiencing new things, connecting and not being easily distracted from the daily routine of life. I go through Michael withdrawal.
Our dogs have always had a good life but we really try to make it even better. Since we got Belle, our daily routine has changed, less time in front of the TV and more play time with Belle. Since I get so much time with her during the day, Michael usually plays with her while I’m writing or spending time with the boys. I’ll come down for awhile too and we play with her together. You can’t buy that quality time. Those are memories you don’t forget.
I love my quiet time too. An early morning cup of coffee before anyone else is up; feels so good and helps me start the day right. That’s free.
Those unexpected expressions of love from companions, children, pets and friends are also priceless and free.
Belle can be a real handful– then out of the blue, she calms down and crawls in my lap or licks my face. Free and priceless.
A friend messages on Facebook, calls or stops by unexpectedly— free and priceless too.
There are so many things to appreciate and cherish. The residual effects of life can be the most rewarding.
Sometimes we just have to stop, look and listen.
The best things….the free things are right there under our noses.