My Birthday Wish: A More Appreciative World

by Sam on August 27, 2009

birthday-candles

Saturday is my 24th birthday, so I decided to interrupt the guest posts with some appreciation of my own. A lot has changed in the past year or so, for better and worse. Change has touched every aspect of my life, from family and friends, to where I live and work.  It’s been a year of loss, anger, sadness, fear and pain, but it’s also been a year of new beginnings, happiness and love.  I’ve discovered that life isn’t fair. Bad things happen to good people. Sometimes a lot of bad things happen at once. There will be times when we feel like the whole world is against us, and things can’t possibly get any worse…and then they will. But, the thing is, there’s always someone, somewhere, who is worse off than we are, as hard as that may be to believe. Putting things in perspective is incredibly powerful.

All of this change has caused me to change as well. I’ve learned that we have two choices when it comes to facing life’s obstacles: let them defeat you, or take the opportunity to learn and grow.  Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the most difficult experiences of the past year have taught me a lot about myself and made me appreciate all that I have.

For quite a while, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with the rest of this post. I probably re-wrote it half a dozen times, unsure of what message I wanted to get across.  I was going to list all of the people and things that I appreciate, but I believe that appreciation is something that should be part of our everyday lives. It’s not just for special days like birthdays, and it shouldn’t take a tragic event to motivate us to take a step back and be grateful.

If you take nothing else away from the Appreciation Revolution, I hope you realize that life is a precious gift. It is beautiful and fulfilling, frustrating and exciting, but it is also unpredictable. So, make every moment count, and don’t take anything or anyone for granted. Stop making excuses. Say things like ‘thank you,’ ‘I love you,’ ‘I appreciate your hard work,’ and ‘You mean so much to me.’ It is my hope that The Appreciation Revolution will not end when the last post goes up, but will continue to live on through all of you.

When I close my eyes and prepare to blow out the candles on my birthday cake, I won’t just be making a wish. I’ll be taking a moment to appreciate my life, and all of the wonderful, beautiful, people and things that make it all worthwhile.

In case you were wondering…

My favorite ice cream flavor: A tie between cookie dough and cookies & cream

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  • http://www.twentyorsomething.com/ Susan Pogorzelski

    Sam: This is a beautiful post full of lessons, reflection, honesty, and appreciation full of depth and yet in the simplest of terms. A lot can be learned just from this post itself — even more from this revolution you've created. I hope you get your wish and that the world takes its time and appreciates the people, the beauty, the moments that we have. Even more so, I hope you get your wish for a very happy birthday!

  • http://www.twentyorsomething.com/ Susan Pogorzelski

    Sam: This is a beautiful post full of lessons, reflection, honesty, and appreciation full of depth and yet in the simplest of terms. A lot can be learned just from this post itself — even more from this revolution you've created. I hope you get your wish and that the world takes its time and appreciates the people, the beauty, the moments that we have. Even more so, I hope you get your wish for a very happy birthday!

  • http://modite.com/blog Rebecca

    Sam!! We're birthday twins! :) My birthday is on Saturday too. So fun. I really love the Appreciation Revolution and can't wait for the rest of the posts. Happy Birthday and thanks for all YOU do.

  • http://modite.com/blog Rebecca

    Sam!! We're birthday twins! :) My birthday is on Saturday too. So fun. I really love the Appreciation Revolution and can't wait for the rest of the posts. Happy Birthday and thanks for all YOU do.

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com/ sameve

    Thanks Susan! I'm glad you learned something from this post. I guess all of the re-writings were worth it!

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com sameve

    Thanks Susan! I'm glad you learned something from this post. I guess all of the re-writings were worth it!

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com/ sameve

    Yay! How exciting :) I hope you have a great birthday!! And thanks for the Appreciation Revolution love.

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com sameve

    Yay! How exciting :) I hope you have a great birthday!! And thanks for the Appreciation Revolution love.

  • andhari

    “we have two choices when it comes to facing life’s obstacles: let them defeat you, or take the opportunity to learn and grow.”Wise words, Sam. I love it :)

  • andhari

    “we have two choices when it comes to facing life’s obstacles: let them defeat you, or take the opportunity to learn and grow.”

    Wise words, Sam. I love it :)

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com/ sameve

    Thanks Andhari! I've found that although it may seem easier to go cry in the corner, looking for something good, or at least learning something, from a bad experience makes it a little less bad.

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com sameve

    Thanks Andhari! I've found that although it may seem easier to go cry in the corner, looking for something good, or at least learning something, from a bad experience makes it a little less bad.

  • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

    First, happy early birthday! I love birthdays because to me, they signal the start of a new phase (way more than New Years). Second, I loved this post. I have a friend going through a really tough time right now, and your first few paragraphs really gave me compassion for her and hope that things will get better (despite the roller-coaster). BTW – there is an ice cream shop by my house that sells a COMBO of cookie dough and cookies & cream – you would love it!! It's amazing.

  • http://www.lifeaftercollege.org jennyblake

    First, happy early birthday! I love birthdays because to me, they signal the start of a new phase (way more than New Years).

    Second, I loved this post. I have a friend going through a really tough time right now, and your first few paragraphs really gave me compassion for her and hope that things will get better (despite the roller-coaster).

    BTW – there is an ice cream shop by my house that sells a COMBO of cookie dough and cookies & cream – you would love it!! It's amazing.

  • http://ryanstephensmarketing.com/blog/ ryanstephens

    A tie? *GASP* What a cop out :) And thanks for sharing that Sam. Putting things in perspective AND knowing that I control and dictate the contents of my mind (and consequently my happiness) are what keep me plugging on when I'm tired, frustrated, burned out and missing home.

  • http://ryanstephensmarketing.com/blog/ ryanstephens

    A tie? *GASP* What a cop out :)

    And thanks for sharing that Sam. Putting things in perspective AND knowing that I control and dictate the contents of my mind (and consequently my happiness) are what keep me plugging on when I'm tired, frustrated, burned out and missing home.

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com/ sameve

    Um Jenny, I think we might be soulmates lol. Thanks for the happy birthday! I love birthdays too, mine and other people's. I like to make birthdays special for my loved ones and friends, cards, presents, balloons…the works. And, I agree with you, it's the perfect opportunity to get a fresh start.I'm so glad that this post helped you understand what your friend's been going through. I've felt like Debbie Downer for the past year or so, and been hesitant to reach out to my friends because of it. I'm sure your friend really appreciates your support, even if she doesn't tell you. Cookie dough and cookies & cream?! Heaven :)

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com sameve

    Um Jenny, I think we might be soulmates lol. Thanks for the happy birthday! I love birthdays too, mine and other people's. I like to make birthdays special for my loved ones and friends, cards, presents, balloons…the works. And, I agree with you, it's the perfect opportunity to get a fresh start.

    I'm so glad that this post helped you understand what your friend's been going through. I've felt like Debbie Downer for the past year or so, and been hesitant to reach out to my friends because of it. I'm sure your friend really appreciates your support, even if she doesn't tell you.

    Cookie dough and cookies & cream?! Heaven :)

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com/ sameve

    Haha, sorry Ryan, I guess it is a cop out. The truth is that I absolutely love ice cream, and it's pretty impressive that I could narrow it down to two flavors. On a more serious note, I like how you said that, knowing you control and dictate the contents of your mind, and consequently your happiness…I think that's something people often forget. In my opinion, we waste way too much time feeling sorry for ourselves and drowning in our sorrows. I'm glad you enjoyed this post, and you have a pretty great outlook yourself. Thanks for your comments!

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com sameve

    Haha, sorry Ryan, I guess it is a cop out. The truth is that I absolutely love ice cream, and it's pretty impressive that I could narrow it down to two flavors.

    On a more serious note, I like how you said that, knowing you control and dictate the contents of your mind, and consequently your happiness…I think that's something people often forget. In my opinion, we waste way too much time feeling sorry for ourselves and drowning in our sorrows. I'm glad you enjoyed this post, and you have a pretty great outlook yourself. Thanks for your comments!

  • Carla Blumenthal

    Sam- Happy early birthday! You know, I was home for bit in August and it made me really realize that truly life is a gift. I've had that as my Facebook quote for a while because I truly believe it. I think the time we have on this earth is so valuable and ephemeral, and needs to be cherished.That's why I love what you are doing with the Appreciation Revolution :)

  • Carla Blumenthal

    Sam- Happy early birthday! You know, I was home for bit in August and it made me really realize that truly life is a gift. I've had that as my Facebook quote for a while because I truly believe it. I think the time we have on this earth is so valuable and ephemeral, and needs to be cherished.

    That's why I love what you are doing with the Appreciation Revolution :)

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com/ sameve

    Carla, very wise words. I don't what caused you to develop that perspective, but I bet you appreciate life a lot more now. Thanks for the birthday wishes and for showing the Appreciation Revolution some love :)

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com sameve

    Carla, very wise words. I don't what caused you to develop that perspective, but I bet you appreciate life a lot more now. Thanks for the birthday wishes and for showing the Appreciation Revolution some love :)

  • http://meenalvamburkar.wordpress.com/ Meenal

    Great post. I've read some of the posts in the Appreciation Revolution and have to say I love the whole idea of it. Appreciation is so important, and we often take so many things for granted. It got me thinking about who or what I appreciate and there are so many amazing, beautiful things in the world…we just have to pause to acknowledge them.Also, cookies 'n cream is a favorite of mine, too!

  • http://meenalvamburkar.wordpress.com/ Meenal

    Great post. I've read some of the posts in the Appreciation Revolution and have to say I love the whole idea of it. Appreciation is so important, and we often take so many things for granted. It got me thinking about who or what I appreciate and there are so many amazing, beautiful things in the world…we just have to pause to acknowledge them.

    Also, cookies 'n cream is a favorite of mine, too!

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com/ sameve

    Meenal: Thank you so much for your comments! I'm glad this post, and the series as a whole, has gotten you thinking about the important things in life. And great choice in ice cream!

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com sameve

    Meenal: Thank you so much for your comments! I'm glad this post, and the series as a whole, has gotten you thinking about the important things in life. And great choice in ice cream!

  • http://meenalvamburkar.wordpress.com/ Meenal

    Great post. I've read some of the posts in the Appreciation Revolution and have to say I love the whole idea of it. Appreciation is so important, and we often take so many things for granted. It got me thinking about who or what I appreciate and there are so many amazing, beautiful things in the world…we just have to pause to acknowledge them.

    Also, cookies 'n cream is a favorite of mine, too!

  • http://www.lifeschocolates.com sameve

    Meenal: Thank you so much for your comments! I'm glad this post, and the series as a whole, has gotten you thinking about the important things in life. And great choice in ice cream!

  • Helen

    June 25 ,2011 is my 34th birthday!!!

  • cora dejac

    nice

  • cora dejac

    tomorrow july 3 is my 28 bday,i can relate with your message.

  • Mczmus

    today is my birthday while i was thinking of what to write, i stumble on this page and am requesting that you let me re-post it on my page. so apt to my situation. Thanks

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