What Are You Waiting For? The Time to Make Everyday Special is Now!
Way back when my now husband was still my fiancé and we were registering for the wedding I remember contemplating adding a Boden French press to our registry (I do love coffee!). To me, having the time to slowly brew the coffee and then sit around drinking it lazily seemed like the ultimate luxury. This image didn't seem to fit with my current state of renting a small apartment and living on the cheap so I passed. In my mind's eye I envisioned drinking my French press once we had purchased a home, while sitting on the porch, reading a book. Something I would do in the future when life was different; a luxury I could wait to attain.
Looking back on that experience has me thinking about how often we neglect the simple pleasures life has to offer. Small upgrades and rituals, that often require minimal effort or expense, can be so impactful when it comes to our day-to-day living. In some ways I think is the result of my ability to delay gratification, a trait that has served me well in many ways. Essentially delayed or deferred gratification is the ability to resist the temptation for an immediate, smaller reward and wait for a later, larger reward. A growing body of research has linked the ability to delay gratification to many positive outcomes such as academic success, physical health, psychological health and social competence. Delaying gratification can be an essential element in being able to reach your higher goals, but it can also be easy to get trapped in this cycle and neglect opportunities to live well now. Without awareness, the rainbow keeps growing and you never reach the pot of gold.
At work the following week my registry experience somehow came up in conversation with an older co-worker. He laughed, kindly, at my thought process. He pointed out that life would never really slow down in the way that I imagined- the busy just changes. It was a simple remark but oh so accurate. As much as we plan we really don't know what the future will look like so it's important to consciously choose ways to improve our daily lives and appreciate what constitutes a life well lived in the present.
I'm happy to say that I updated the registry, received my very own French press for our wedding, and made a slow brew coffee part of my weekend ritual. Had I waited for my ideal coffee-brewing scenario to materialize I would still be waiting. Shortly after moving into our first home we started a family. With a toddler I drink my coffee a little more quickly these days, but I still savor every moment.
Today I encourage you to brainstorm a list of simple enhancements that could provide a significant impact to daily living. These are what I like to call an Everyday Upgrade. This could be a set of new bath towels that wraps you in cozy warmth, it could be a beautiful bowl from which you eat your breakfast every morning, or even a new case for your iPhone in a color or pattern that delights you. Select just one to implement this week and see where it takes you.
What's your Everyday Upgrade and how has it impacted your daily living?