Do you ever get those moments where you read an “inspirational” quote – not that bumper-sticker stuff, but something really thought through – and you can’t believe how strongly it resonates with you?
That happened to me recently when I read something Einstein once said: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as if nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” It made me think: is it age that gives us the perspective to contemplate the little miracles that happen every day?
Living as though nothing is a miracle seems rather depressing – perceiving the world through a lens of scepticism and dismissing any notions of wonder. But living as though everything is a miracle speaks to all I believe in: embracing a sense of awe and gratitude for the world around us. It’s about finding beauty and meaning in the smallest things.
There are miracles all around us – love, nature, music, art – if we choose to see them that way. And taking the time to be grateful for them isn’t just woo-woo nonsense – gratitude appears to contribute substantially to our mental wellbeing and our physical health. There’s a growing body of evidence in the field of social science that suggests gratitude has measurable benefits in just about every area of our life.
I make a gratitude list every day, even if it’s just a quick three things I feel grateful for. And I firmly believe that it’s age that’s given me the time and intention to do this. When I was younger, I didn’t have much of either. I was always in such a hurry to get things done – particularly while I was starting a new business and raising a family.
The wisdom of age has helped me accept myself more fully. It’s also given me the confidence to accept the skin I’m in. I care less about wanting to turn back the clock and more about being the very best version of myself that I can be. I laugh more than I used to, too.
One thing that really made me smile was a recent piece in The Washington Post, in which the brilliant Anne Lamott talked about her experience of ageing – and the miracles it brings.
“So twice a year I go to Sephora and announce that I’d like to buy a miracle,” she said, “and wonderfully, they always have the exact right thing. I use it for a month, and then I put it in the bottom drawer with the other miracles.
“The miracle brain pills are in a different drawer, with the kerchiefs. Friends swear they work, but nope, a month later my mind is still perforated like a pie crust poked with a fork and memory slowly leaks out. So into the drawer they go while I walk around the house trying to remember what I was trying to remember.”
She has a point. And those aren’t the kinds of miracles we’re selling (though I do like to think we always have “the exact right thing”). The miracles I urge you to seek are those without price. The love of friends and family. The beauty of nature. The peace that these things bring wear down the fear.
So take a little time today to appreciate the small miracles. To write down three things you’re grateful for – and share them with us. I promise you’ll be glad that you did.