‘I don’t know where you guys live, but where I am, there’s structure and a schedule. It’s flexible and resilient.’: Woman reminds others to ‘find happiness in what’s in front of us’

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“You know that saying that encourages you not to let your happiness be dependent on ‘if only?’ Like, I’d be so much happier if only I’d make more money. If only we had a better house. If only, if only, if only.

It’s an awful way to live. All of the glory and beauty that already exists within your life doesn’t stand a chance against ‘if only.’ How can you ever see the bounty of what’s in front of you if you are staring down ‘if only’?

‘If only’ steals your joy. It steals the happiness from what’s right in front of you. ‘If only’ is a comparison and comparison is the thief of joy.

Right now, many of us are focused on the ‘if only.’ Right? If only we could go back to school. If only we could go out to eat. If only, if only, if only.

I don’t know where you guys live, but where I am, it’s likely we’ll be staying at home until the summer. There’s no changing this new normal. Railing against and wishing for it to be different does not do anything positive. Focusing on the ‘if only’ only makes things worse.

I decided weeks ago to focus on the good. Each day — look for the good. While nothing is perfect, there’s a lot to be thankful for.

I don’t have to set my alarm.

My husband and I stay up late watching our favorite show.

We eat dinner outside almost every night and follow up with a game of UNO or Trouble.

We take daily walks.

Everyone is reading. A lot.

We are building.

We are gardening and growing.

There’s structure and a schedule, but it’s flexible and resilient.

We watch movies. Lots of movies.

Nothing is perfect, y’all. There are cracks everywhere but the depth of them depends on whether or not that’s what you want to focus on.

I see how this new normal is bringing out the worst in people. It’s really the worst. Online bashing. Public shaming. Complaining. Group pile-ons.

Have mercy. Extend grace. Find kindness in your heart. Be appreciative. Be patient. Find peace in the slower pace. Find happiness in what’s right in front of you.

Everyone is affected. Everyone. And you know what? They have a few ‘if onlys,’ too. The difference is, these may be a few ‘if onlys’ we should be thinking about.

If only we could all be a little more patient. If only we could all find happiness in what’s in front of us. If only we could all appreciate what we have. If only we could stop pointing to everything that’s missing. If only we could be grateful for this change and see this it as the gift it truly is.”

Courtesy Melanie Forstall

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Melanie Forstall, 45, of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. You can follow her journey on Instagram here and Facebook here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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‘What’s that?’ I grumbled. ‘Your dad bought you things while you were in surgery.’: Woman diagnosed with thyroid cancer learns important lessons from father through poignant gifts

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