Gratitude and Green Jackets

This past Saturday and Sunday was Masters weekend!

It’s that magical time of year when the world’s best golfers converge on arguably one of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. It’s one of the few events that I will sit inside and watch on television.

Every year, this weekend reminds me of when I was invited to attend the tournament. It was 25 years ago, and I was a busy orthopedic surgeon. On the Monday of Masters weekend, my friend Steve called and said he had tickets and accommodations in Augusta for the tournament. He was inviting me to join him.

It was a dream offer, but it was Monday and he wanted me to fly out the next day. I had a week full of surgery and office patients. I didn’t yet have the freedom of passive income, so I had to painfully decline his kind offer.

Poor me, right! (My son would later call that a “first-world problem” and he would be correct.) Yet, for years, I still felt sorry for myself.

Life moved on, as usual, and I continued to build my real estate portfolio. I also made it a point to work daily on my personal development.

It took some time, but eventually I realized I was looking at that Masters invitation the wrong way. I understood how grateful I should have been just to receive the offer. I also became thankful that the reason I couldn’t go was because I had a job I enjoyed. I began to appreciate the small things that we take for granted.

Often, we forget how blessed we are in our lives. Certainly, bad stuff happens and it’s not fun. But there is always something to be grateful for.

This year, within 60 days, I lost my mother and a cherished pet. Both were heart wrenching. But I am eternally grateful for the friends and acquaintances who reached out to express their love, concern and care in my time of grief. To have people like that in your life is something to be grateful for.

Personally, I realized what blessed lives my mother and my dog lived. I became deeply grateful for the experiences they had in life and the gentle way in which they made the transition to the next life. It gave me comfort and strength.

Tragedy and loss are not the only places where you can employ gratitude.

Sometimes we see others who have possessions, status or lives that we think we would like to have. First, it’s never as good as it appears on the outside. Second, your life is not theirs anyway, so stop comparing.

I say that bluntly, because I did it, and still do it, but I’m getting better. Every time I envy a person for accomplishing a milestone that I have yet to reach, it causes anxiety because I’m not there yet. It doesn’t change my plan of action, so why worry about it?

Appreciate what you have now. I’ve found that gratitude is grounding, cathartic and calming. Each day, as I write in my journal, I put on paper the things that I am grateful for, so I will be reminded of the blessings I already possess. Sometimes, they’re as simple as waking up healthy, dinners with friends, or having indoor plumbing.

That doesn’t mean I sit back and rest on my commode. I still strive to be a better version of myself each day. However, as I’ve gotten older, I do it with a sense of gratitude and calm expectation.

I wish the same for you.

(I’m still waiting for Steve to make that offer again!)

Until next time!
Tom

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