What do we want, what do we need? That's a question I, Jane, Adventure She magazine's editor, have been asking myself.
I would like to be free to travel the world, to cross Australian deserts, to hike Welsh mountains, to cycle Alpine cols. Then when exhausted, I would like to recuperate by an infinity pool that overlooks a beach with thick white sand.
I would like be free to visit family and friends wherever and whenever I want. For far too long has passed since I saw so many of them.
I would like to be physically fit enough to do all the adventures on my wish list, rather than nursing what I hope is merely another injury, rather the impact of advancing years on my body.
I want all of that. But which of those do I actually need?
I am lucky, for I have some close family and friends nearby, who I can see.
I am lucky, for I have taken to Zoom like a duck to water, and so I can catch up with family and friends further away.
I am lucky, for I've even managed a couple of short road trips when I caught up with a good friend to climb a mountain, to view wildlife (albeit in a park) and to visit an UNESCO World Heritage site.
When I think about it, what I actually need is far less than I would like to have, or want.
I am lucky, for I am happy with what I have. For that I am so grateful. For surely, when we are happy, then we have what we truly need, for happiness is something that no amount of travelling, adventure, or money, can buy.
Now I come to the key word in this blog, namely 'grateful'. When putting together the June 2020 (yes last June) issue of Adventure She magazine, I noticed a common theme amongst the articles. I noticed how so many of the writers lived with a sense of gratitude and I noticed how that sense of gratitude appeared to help them be happier, more successful and more rounded people.
So I started to experiment. When I went for walks I started saying things like "I'm grateful those flowers are so beautiful." "I'm grateful there's so little traffic that I can hear the birds sing." "I'm grateful I have access to a park."
You know what, those little statements, those mini expressions of gratitude, they made me feel happier, more joyous, more hopeful about life, despite the pandemic. Those little statements of gratitude made me realise what I want, doesn't really matter. What matters, is what I need.
Clearing my mind of the junk about 'wanting' has helped me cope with this last year and the uncertainty for the future. Who knows when or if I'll ever be able to fulfill my wants. I can certainly still work towards them, e.g., by doing rehabiliation exercises for whatever is the latest injury I'm carrying. Whether or not my wants however come to fruition, is largely out of my hands, for to a large extent they depend on the opening of certain international borders.
What I do know, is that by having an attitude of gratitude, it's helped me distinguish between my wants and my needs, and for that, I am very grateful.
If you would like to read more about gratitude, why not check out the June 2020 issue of Adventure She magazine.
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