Taken For Granted

Are we fully aware of how we take so many things in life for granted? I have become more and more aware of it, as I grow older and wiser (or I’d like to think that I’m a lot wiser now).

When I was very young, I lived in a spacious house with big compound. I took the space for granted. I remember vividly that I learnt to skate in the living room, which provided all the soft cushions to fall on when I was off balanced. We had home-grown fruits, green vegetables and herbs, which I took for granted for many years till one day, I found myself paying for what I once enjoyed for free! Mom grew orchids and other plants around the house which provided fresh floral arrangements for our tables. How I wish to have fresh flowers from the garden to decorate our tables now too. I don’t think I inherit mom’s green fingers. Have not really put them to the test yet. All these memories made me feel that I should have been more grateful then.

When I moved back to my hometown, I got to enjoy the breathtaking lake garden, the delicious and cheap local delights, the cool refreshing water that flowed to our home (believe me, the water was especially cooling, icy cold but in a delicious way, crystal clear too) and everything was just within walking distance. Oh…I yearn for the simplicity, the fresh air, the surrounding greens and delicious food, which I took for granted all those years.

How many of you feel that you have taken your family for granted, believing that they will always be there waiting for you, while you try to find time to spend with them? Family could mean your parents, siblings, spouse and/or children.

Parental love knows no boundary. Loving parents understand that “when you love them (children), set them free“. But that doesn’t stop them from missing their grown children. Always hoping to hear from them, or looking forward to their short visits, to spending some time together. Deep in their hearts, they wish that the children will return more often but they try to understand that their children are busy with their work and lives. To them, as long as their children are happy, they will too.

Living in a fast-paced world, while seeking a place of belonging in this society, we can’t help but to focus our attention to make our lives better. Along such challenging journey, we often miss out the emotional obligation we have for our parents. We always felt that opportunities can’t wait, that once passed, it may not return. So, with a heavy heart we prioritize and, sad to say, parents aren’t usually at the top two or three. We always thought that they could take good care of themselves and their needs. Sometimes, we remember to deposit money into their bank accounts but forgot to make deposits to their ’emotional bank accounts’, giving them the much-needed attention and a bit of our time.

Besides parents, there were times when we could not even fit in some time for our own children and spouse! So tied up with our daily work commitment that we don’t seem to have much time left! We silently hope that they will understand and take care of themselves. We take it for granted that our children won’t be needing that much of our attention as they grow up and our spouse would understand how busy we are than to distract us further. This is when children turn to their friends for attention and the marriage started to face little frictions due to lack of communication.

Many often fail to detect the fine lines appearing in their family relationship. The longer things are taken for granted, the distant the gap amongst the family members. When one finally stop to take a good look at it, the realization may come a bit too late. If it is not too serious, it could still be mended, but if the cracks are too many and deep, it may not recover at all.

Therefore, before everything starts to slip through your fingers, take a hard look at your relationship with your parents, spouse and children, etc. If you realize that you have been neglecting them lately, do something about it before it’s too late. If you have been returning home late everyday, try to get out of the office earlier sometimes. For a change, drive home while it is still quite bright outside.

Plan some weekends to visit parents and parents-in-law. Have meals and catch up with them and your siblings. If you don’t have much time to spare, a short trip will do. Trust me, each visit will warm your heart and make you happier. I don’t know about you, but for me, when I see the smiles and hear the laughter in the house, it makes me feel great!

No matter what, in life, it is easier for us to come to our own conclusion about who or what needs our time more. We are so good at prioritizing our tasks and time, that we often miss out spending time together as a family. Keep on trying to keep in touch if you really can’t spare the time. Touch base by calling each other, whenever you are free during the day, just to have a small chat to let the family members (parents, spouse or children) know that you are thinking of them. It merely takes less than 5 minute of your time. I’m sure you can afford to do that, during lunch break or so.

Decide right now not to take anyone for granted – parents, spouse, children, siblings, friends, employers, employees, etc. Life is impermanent. Let’s not wait till we lose the chance to realize the importance of it.

Have a great week ahead!

~ Alice N.

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16 thoughts on “Taken For Granted

  1. Very timely advise since Christmas and Chinese New Year is not very far away. I’m glad I’ve moved back to my mom’s house. My children get to enjoy a little bit of what I enjoyed i.e. the rambutan tree. Hehe. I love your writing and yes, you have deep wisdom πŸ™‚

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