The Art Of Appreciation: How To Value Your Experiences

by Alex Mullan

Have you ever found yourself in an undesirable frame of mind? Perhaps this state of mind was brought on by unavoidable future occurrences? Or maybe it thrust itself into your life by way of unexpected circumstances?

Appreciation is not a simple emotion. Fortunately, thanks to recent events, I have garnered a better look at the art of appreciation and come away with a lesson.

As my time in the Dominican Republic draws to a close, I find myself in a state of emotional anguish, discontent, and deeply desiring skipping my flight back to Canada to stay in this esoteric paradise.

Through developing a deep bond with the culture, meeting new people and embracing a new way of life, I’ve developed a zeal for Spanish culture that renders Canada rather vanilla by comparison. That isn’t inherently a bad thing; it’s just skewed my cultural appreciation towards the more exotic side of the scale.

It’s in this state that I’m learning the full value of appreciation.

I don’t have enough fingers to count the amount of times the thought to blow off my flight and remain in the Dominican Republic has crossed my mind. If you asked me what the one thing I want in this world right now is, I would tell you the following.

“I want to remain here in the Dominican Republic. I want to explore all the country has to offer and fully immerse myself into their wonderful culture. Yet perhaps most significantly, I’d do just about anything to avoid heading back to Canada.”

Unfortunately, driver’s licenses, business licenses, medical plans, and banking are additional factors in this dream scenario.


It’s in this state that I’m learning the full value of appreciation.

I think that the state of appreciation in itself lacks appreciation on a broad scale.

When was the last time you sat back and simply appreciated the food you were about to consume? 

Not just the fact that you get to feed yourself, but the fact that you have the fortune to consumer a delicious concoction of nutrients placed in front of you; the fact that nourishing your body is a luxury that not everyone has.

When was the last time you sat back and were thankful for doing something you love?

I know this doesn’t apply to everyone, yet it does apply to many. I, for one, have never had a job that I truly hated. Each occupation has been more appealing than the last, until the present day, where I couldn’t be happier with my career. Hell, as I write this, I’m gaining an immensely greater appreciation for what I do.

When was the last time you sat back and told the person who means everything to you, just that?

Should you be in the position of having a deep, strong, and fulfilling relationship with a significant other, wake up and tell them just how much they mean to you. Don’t take them for granted and certainly don’t assume they know how you feel.

It’s in this state that I’m learning the full value of appreciation.

This unsettled state of mind is not a pleasant one –torn between returning to my homeland and remaining in the country that has stolen my heart. The thought that you only have a handful of days left in such a magical land pushes you to make the most of it, but it’s also there in your mind that you will soon be leaving. It’s weighing you down, nagging you, reminding you.

It’s in this state that I’m learning the full value of appreciation.

Now we’ve arrived at the lesson I want to impart upon you.

There is a cure for this impinging state of mind, a cure that applies to any situation in which you’re feeling down, discontent, or yearning to delay the future.

The cure is, perhaps obviously by now, appreciation.

Appreciation for all you have experienced.

Appreciation for the lessons learned.

Appreciation for the present moment.

Appreciation for the new friends made.

Appreciation for what’s to come.

It’s in this state that I’m learning the full value of appreciation.

Go forth, my friends. The world is at your fingertips. Do all you can, see all you can bear, touch all that appeals to you, embrace all you can manage, and absorb life as it lands at your feet.

When all is said and done, don’t forget to appreciate the experience.

Top Photo Courtesy: Favim