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Living for Exactly What You Have

We go through life sometimes focusing on some goal, some prize, some future payoff. Maybe it’s a new job at a new company, or moving from an apartment to a condo or home. Maybe it’s not having to deal with a car that always seems to be in need of repair. Or finding a good “healthy” relationship with someone, or repairing an old relationship gone awry. We often seemed focused on the future, planning for the next big thing.

Things are okay with me these days
Got a good job, got a good office
Got a new wife, got a new life
— Billy Joel

When we do this, all too often we miss what we do have, what is right in front of us. We want the new car, the new job, the new life, and don’t give thanks or appreciate the old car, the old job, or the old life.

Every year, we have our annual “Yankee Homecoming” in Newburyport, Mass. It’s an annual festival celebrating the natives coming home to Newburyport. The event was initiated in 1957 by Newburyport native, George Cashman, reportedly to stimulate the economy and lift the spirits of the townspeople. Nowadays the festival encompasses an entire week of arts and crafts people in their booths, good food, and live music. It fills some of the main streets of the tiny little town with bustling activity, thousands of people, and a very good spirit.

Walking through the town today, I couldn’t help but appreciate all of the craftsmanship that goes into so much artistic expression, through jewelry, painting, photography, carvings, clothing and more. There are just so many artistic people out there, so many people with real skill and talent, who create some really interesting items.

Breathing in the fresh summer seaside air and feeling the sun on my face while walking on my two good feet and using my two good eyes, ears, and my one good nose to take in all of the sights and sounds of today’s festival, I just had to stop for a moment and stop worrying about all of the future things I have little or no control over. I had to stop myself from wanting this or that, or thinking I needed something more than I had at just that moment.

I just was, for a moment in time, simply another living being in the middle of the world. Enjoying life for a minute. And not wanting something else.

They say if all you have is your health, you have it all. I have my health and then some, but if we don’t stop to appreciate the things we do have in our lives, our lives will be over before we know it. All of that wanting something else, something more will be for naught.

It’s hard, I can’t stop myself from wanting more, from wanting to make things better here or do that something there. But once in a while we need to stop ourselves, take a deep breath, and just live.

Even if it’s just for a moment.

Living for Exactly What You Have

John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Dr. John Grohol is the founder of Psych Central. He is a psychologist, author, researcher, and expert in mental health online, and has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 1995. Dr. Grohol has a Master's degree and doctorate in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Grohol sits on the editorial board of the journal Computers in Human Behavior and is a founding board member of the Society for Participatory Medicine. You can learn more about Dr. John Grohol here.

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APA Reference
Grohol, J. (2018). Living for Exactly What You Have. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 31 Jul 2007)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
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