This is an interesting one. Although for me this is heavily in terms of parenting, I think you can apply this notion to almost any person, any part of life, and be immediately grateful for what you have now.
I was chatting with a friend a couple of weeks ago. I had just met her third (and last) child, a wee 3 month old cutie-pie boy. I was telling her some of my parental grievances over baby girl, such as her terrible two tantrums, the difficulty in sleeping lately, toilet training, etc. Although her eldest is only in prep at primary school, she told me how she had spoken to another Mum who was having issues with her daughter, who was in high school. Her daughter was awfully shy, and the mother was concerned about high school issues such as bullying. Because her daughter didn’t like to open up, she was concerned there may be something dark she was hiding.
Both my friend and I came to the same conclusion: the bigger they get, the bigger their problems.
Right now it’s power-struggles over sleep, toilet training, and asserting their independence and being overly strong-willed… but these, small, temporary, transitory problems are all things that will pass. One day they will sleep through without issue; they will be toilet trained by the time they reach school age (I mean shit, we’re doing alright, we caught on); and they will get over the need to be little bossy boots and have everything their way.
But bullying? Teenage issues? Talking to them about sex, and the opposite sex? Keeping them on the straight, and out of trouble?
I’ll take sleeplessness over lack of sleep, rather than sleeplessness over troubling teenager, thank you very much. I’m grateful where I am.
She may follow me around the house and call out for me constantly, but there will be a day where she’ll be embarrassed if I kiss her in front of her friends.
There may be yelling and shouting and things banging in the house now, and I may be run off my feet with things to do, but there will be a day when the walls echo, and I have too much time on my hands.
You may be working like an animal at the moment, but there might be a day where you are unable to work due to frail limbs.
You may find your family a nuisance now, but when they are gone you may regret the times you never spent together.
And you may hate the shoebox you live in and dodge car you drive, but when your house has enough rooms to house out-of-towners and your flashy car drives a 12 at the raceway, you’ll have even more work cleaning and maintaining your new toys. More things = more money = more work.
Foresight brings clarity. Be grateful today.