How lucky are we to be human? Sure, we can be pretty awful sometimes, but all-in-all, we’re all right. We have the ability to understand things that other living things cannot. We have the ability to learn, care and relate. We can empathize, sympathize and connect with other creatures in ways that others cannot.
Unfortunately, we don’t always appreciate how lucky we are or how good we have it. We are capable of feeling more than any other living thing on this planet. Why? Because we have a better understanding of the importance of things, events and people in our lives.
We understand more and are able to project our own thoughts onto other things, allowing our perceptions to stir up emotions.
These emotions, these feelings are what make being human worth it. For better or worse, it’s these feelings that make life as beautiful and ugly as it is. So why take them for granted?
1. That sense of release you got the last day of school before summer recess.
This sense of excitement isn’t one that can easily be replicated when you’re older – mainly because, chances are, you don’t get a summer vacation anymore.
Life used to be easy. You’d go to school for nine months out of the year and then spend three months doing whatever it is that you wanted (as long as your parents would allow it, of course). Now, you work all year round with a two-week vacation if you’re lucky.
We no longer have the feeling of anticipation that would start building up on the first day of school in September to the last day in June. We rarely get so excited for such simple things.
2. The simplicity that is the feeling of contentment.
As human beings, we’re cursed. It’s difficult for us to find happiness in things eliciting less than intense emotional responses. We like to feel emotions, being more fond of them the more intense they are – it makes us feel more alive.
We never really bother enjoying the beauty of being content, being pleased with the general situations that we find ourselves within.
We are always looking for the next thrill, the next rush, the next dramatic event. Only until, that is, we get tired of the triviality of most of those things that do elicit such intense emotional responses – then we wish for contentment.
3. Falling in love.
We don’t usually take falling in love for granted in the moment, but over time, most of us do. Most people are not yet capable of understanding the importance of such a moment – a moment that is life-changing every time.
After a couple of months or years of being with someone, we forget how it felt to fall in love with that person. We remember the excitement as part of a more distant past, but it’s not because that’s the way it has to be.
Rather, because we took falling in love for granted and didn’t bother to consider that such fires need to be kindled regularly in order to be kept alive.
We take love for granted because we assume it is something that has a life of its own and that it doesn’t need us to work to keep it alive. We learn just how wrong that assumption is with age.
4. That feeling you get when there isn’t a single thing that you have to do.
It really is one of the nicest, most calming feelings one can ever experience. Of course, it gets lost on those who experience it too often – human beings notice changes more than the constants in our lives.
If you never have anything to do, then you’ll get tired of it really quickly. But for those of us who always have a lot of things to do, having nothing on that list for a whole entire day can be the greatest gift imaginable. It allows us to get back to what’s most important: breathing and living.
5. The satisfaction you get from completing a task properly and successfully.
When you focus and put all your energy into creating something, into completing a task or goal that you set out to accomplish, there isn’t much that can compare to the feeling of satisfaction that washes over you once you’re done.
There’s a sense of pride, a feeling that only boosts your ego. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, we tend not to dwell too long on our successes.
Which is silly because we should be proud of the things we do, no matter how little or seemingly insignificant. They are all things that wouldn’t have gotten done or wouldn't have been created had we not existed.
6. The release you feel when you quit a job that you hate.
Not a lot of people love the work that they do. In fact, most people greatly dislike, if not hate, their jobs. This hatred builds up an incredible amount of stress over time. This stress gets built up, filling us up and making us miserable.
When we can no longer take it and quit, it’s as if we opened up the drain and allowed ourselves to let go of it all. Unfortunately, many people then go on to find another job that puts them right back into that same situation. Some people just don’t learn.
7. The calmness that overcomes you when you break up with the wrong person.
Another great example of not learning from our mistakes. People will date the wrong person for years, have a horrible relationship, have an even more horrible breakup, and then either get back together with the same person or find someone who treats them just as badly as their previous partners. Mistakes exist so that we may learn from them. So learn from them.
You put in the work. You sacrificed your sweat and blood to make it to the top – to be champion. You did it. You sacrificed and came out a winner. Don’t let go of that feeling because it’s that feeling that will have you continue winning.
Winners are more likely to continue winning because they have already tasted what life has to offer, what they are capable of doing. Don’t win and forget and then move on to the next venture, the next race.
Dwell in the joy and happiness that resulted from your hard work and dwell on it for as long as you can, even if you’re already running your next marathon.
The act of caring brings about an amazing feeling of its own. Care is what connects us to other things. We either care about something or someone, or we don’t. Caring makes things matter to us, it allows us to relate and to connect.
Without the ability to care, our lives would literally have no meaning. Caring is what makes us living creatures, to care as much and as deeply as we’re capable of is what makes us human.
10. The loss of something we love and/or care about.
One of the most important feelings we experience in life is that of losing something or someone we love and care about.
We often don’t realize how much something or someone means to us until it’s taken away. It’s sad, but as humans, we more readily understand the importance things hold for us after they have been removed from our lives.
We often have trouble appreciating the things and people we love when they are still a part of our lives. Remember that feeling you get when you lose something of great importance to you. Remember it and never forget it because the fact is that you always deeply cared, you just never bothered to give it much thought.