Perception is everything…
I think this is one of my least favorite sayings, because despite how hard we try to fight it, it always stands to take over our true intentions and thoughts anyways.
I grew up in a small town in Georgia before moving to the beautiful city of Scottsdale Arizona, and living there was totally different than here.
Cummings is an older looking city with wide open spaces and close knit families… what you would call a “home grown” type of land. I remember living right next to my best friend Sam, how we could play in the back yard with random things we found in nature, playing catch with my dad out in the front yard, and how a friend of ours would bring us fresh corn to eat right out of the back of his truck.
Where as, moving to Arizona, things were much cleaner, fancier and less “accessible” to what I remembered. I made some good friends at the church that my dad preached at and I will never forget what it was like going over to their houses for the first time.
It was like everyone lived in a castle…huge open spaces, big doors, fancy furniture, big pools and playgrounds…Nothing like I was used to growing up. And to be honest it made me feel uncomfortable…envious even, at such a young age.
Looking back, I remember how I felt in those moments, and realize that I would not change the way I was brought up for anything. You see, there is something to be said about growing up the way that many of you and I did. Growing up without all of the fancy items and newest toys allowed us to have a new appreciation for everything that we received and worked for.
I know many of us, including myself, have had the “if only…” thought.
“If only I had his car..”
“If only I had her income…”
having these thoughts run through my mind over the years, I have found with that dwelling on what you think you “should’ve” had, is only keeping you from the truth of what you are able to achieve.
You see, all of these “if only” statements are based on the perception, that if you already had then you would be happy.
Yet, in truth…when we learn to work for the things that we have, we gain the appreciation and the pride in achieving them on our own.
“Things given do not provide happiness… hard work and accomplishment however, does.”
A dear old friend of mine taught me something very important about this…
He had a VERY privileged life…more so than any others that I had met.
I remember sitting outside talking with him as we watched his family in the morning after breakfast playing basketball on the court in their backyard..(because that’s normal?)…
And I asked him: What is it like having everything you could ever want? Living in this mansion and not having a care in the world?
I will never forget his response.
“You know Abigail…This may look amazing on the outside…but none of us are happy…My dad is never around, my mom is unhappy, and my brother and I have different aspirations than what our parents want us to do.”
I paused for a moment to realize how perception was not always reality.
Now, today here I am… incredibly thankful for the way that I grew up.
I have worked hard, never given up and taken opportunities for the most that they are and continue to learn more and more about life each day.
No one said it would be easy, but it surely isn’t impossible.
I am living proof that you do not need a “privileged” life, to be happy and live a good life.
If every morning you wake up and say, “Yes, today is going to be a great day.“ And every afternoon you find a reason to say, ”Yes, today is a great day.“ And every night you find a reason to say, “Yes, today was a great day.” Then one day, many years from now, you’ll look back, smile at the memories, and say, ”Yes, I have lived a great life.”