At The End of the Road

How to Truly Appreciate Everything that’s Given to You

A week from today I fly back to the US. It’s been six-months. That isn’t too long of a trip, but long enough to miss seeing the people I love. I have never missed my bed, house, or neighborhood — those things have never felt important to me. Besides a few special people, a warm pot of collard greens with homemade hot-pepper vinegar is the only reason I ever go home.

At the end of any journey I like to reflect. And during those times I’m usually less than pleasant to be around. I’ll keep to myself and indulge in little more than introspective thought — restlessly trying to fully internalize what I have experienced. They are intense and deprecating moments in my life, but I believe them to be important.

The life I live is a gift. Given to me by both family and the Lucky Sperm Club… And at the moment, all I have to give in return is appreciation. For even though appreciation is insignificant in comparison to my supporters sacrifices, it does help — I tell myself.

I hate the way that people are encouraged to “appreciate”. Hate is a strong word, and I use it for that reason. We’re pushed to believe that appreciative people are those who protect and maintain the things they’re given. And as a consequence people end up keeping their favorite shoes in the box and favorite car in the garage.

We hate being reminded that every person, place, and thing has a life span. And that no matter how well we take care of something, it will one day disappear. All we can do as humans is slow the bleeding of everything’s inevitable death — and in that process we mistakenly opt to protect over enjoy.

“Age is nothing more than a number. And whether that number is 30 or 100 when my heart stops beating, I will have lived a full life”

Nearly every nice thing I’ve ever been given or earned has been broken, damaged, lost, or judged (by me). The soles of my dress shoes are almost worn through after less than a year; my camera is scratched beyond the point of re-sale; somehow my computer still starts; and quite a few of my travels have becoming memories I’d describe as unsatisfactory.

Often people consider me to be unappreciative because of this. Because I don’t treat every opportunity as though it were a fragile and sensitive ornament — only ever adorning it with thanks and leaving it on the shelf. I’m confident when I say this; they are wrong.

I try to ravish life. To use everything I ever acquire till it can’t be used anymore. To dissect and find the value in every person and experience I engage with. And by doing just that show a true since of appreciation — one that takes courage to have and show. The greatest disservice I could give to those who enable me to do what I do would be to not suck the juice from every fruit I’m given. And instead let it rot away while I “appreciate” it.

Appreciating something is to ravish it. To touch it, feel it, smell it, get to know it, share experiences with it, and enrich your life with it. It doesn’t matter if that relationship last for an hour, day, month, or life-time — unless you have experienced everything that thing has to offer, in no way can you appreciate it for what it is or was.

So never hold yourself back. Never not do something out of fear that it wouldn’t be appreciative. The only way you can appreciate something is if you’ve experienced it — and you must take your life and possessions out of the glass display box to do that.