I just finished re-reading The Post-Birthday World by Lionel Shriver (what an extraordinary book) and there’s a line in it that has stuck with me for the past week or so… I’m paraphrasing because obviously I can’t remember it word for word (I blame lack of sleep for robbing me of this super-power!) but it’s something along the lines of:
It occurred to her that her life, up till then, had been perfectly lovely. It would have been nice if she’d noticed.
The line leapt out of the book and into my heart, and has made me think of all the things we take for granted – until they’re gone. I remember thinking during the first trimester of my last pregnancy that I would never again take for granted having the energy to get through a day without needing a lie-down. But I do.
I had such chronic heartburn in my last trimester that I thought I would never again take for granted a day in which I didn’t burp 10 times a minute. But I do.
The mastitis I had last week is finally clearing up (thank heavens!) and right now I feel like I’ll never take for granted having two happy boobs. But no doubt I will.
We just adjust to the new normal, don’t we? And it can be a good and bad thing, I think.
Before I was diagnosed with diabetes, I took for granted that I could eat whatever I wanted and not have to stick a needle in my tummy every time I ate. Now I take for granted that I’ll have to.
Before I had kids, I took for granted that I’d sleep through the night and wake up feeling refreshed (what does that feel like, again?)
You adjust to the new normal, but I think there’s worth in recognising how wonderful this normal is. Because the flip side to taking things for granted is noticing their beauty.
I take for granted that I will always have two healthy parents and three healthy siblings and an extended family who are all well. I take for granted that the hardest thing I have to deal with on a daily basis is wrangling a (healthy) 2.5 year old. That my lovely husband and I both have jobs we enjoy, a house we love, more than enough delicious food to eat. But really, each of these things is a blessing.
So while it’s perfectly natural to take our good fortune for granted, I’m going to try a little harder to notice that I’m doing it – to see the slices of joy in the truly everyday and say a quiet little thank you for them.