I arrive at work early in the morning.
One of the strongest guys I know is already there, climbing a rope using only his hands.
We exchange good mornings, and I go about my day.
He continues his workout, solid and controlled, up to the ceiling, then down again to the floor.
Talk about a morning routine.
I breeze past this, my mind busy with thoughts of breakfast and some cat video I saw on Facebook last night.
A beautiful breakfast awaits in the kitchen. The chefs create edible masterpieces, multiple dishes with flavor, variety, and careful presentation.
Spoiled with this daily, I pour myself a cup of coffee and scroll through #brunch on Instagram with my breakfast.
Back in the tent, the trapeze artist completes his hour-long pilates workout. Before two shows. Before the day has even begun.
Later, he will perform a stunning act: technically superior, mentally rigorous, and breathtakingly dangerous… with grace and ease.
I nod hello and walk past him without a second glance.
Everyone is warming up for the show.
Ridiculously talented and handsome men fly and flip on the high-bars, each in an intricate custom-made frog costume.
I walk around the black floor, careful to avoid the girls on unicycles twice my height.
They teeter smoothly back and forth with one leg, using the other to casually kick metal bowls into the air, catching them with another metal bowl balanced on their head.
Yawn. Zǎoshang hǎo, good morning girls.
The show is about to start.
The hand-balancer comfortably moves from one hand to another, swirling his legs and arching his body. Not one wobble, not a single doubt in his gestures.
“Have a good one.”
“Merci, toi aussi.”
In our day to day lives, it is so easy to lose perspective of the extraordinary happenings around us.
I caught myself, again, becoming numb to these spectacular occurrences.
I become numb to the people, who are not only the best in the world at what they do, but also the most kind and generous people I’ve ever met.
I become numb to the circumstances. The opportunity to do something I truly enjoy, while traveling the world. The plentiful food, the clean facilities, the ability to walk home alone at night, safely.
So what happens when the extraordinary … becomes, ordinary?
We risk becoming ignorant, expectant of luxuries. We lose perspective of what we have earned and what we were given. We complain, we become lazy, and we become complacent.
How did #firstworldproblems become a trending hashtag? How did it become a joke?
How do we fix this?
I’m starting with gratitude.
Just like anything else, it takes practice. It takes practice to recognize those things around us that have become so engrained in our daily lives that we forget they exist. It gets easier. Life gets better.
You wake up ready to face the day. You smile and tip the barista who made your coffee. You sing along to the song on the radio while stuck in rush-hour traffic because, hey, you own a car.
Whatever your work, wherever you live, whoever your co-workers may be,
What do you shrug off daily, that is truly incredible?
Look around and see, there are so many things to be grateful for.
“You’ve been given a gift of 84,600 seconds today. Have you used one of them to say thank you?” – adaptation of original quote by William Arthur Ward