As a small child, I appreciated each day as it came. What wonders would this day unfold for me? I was definitely egocentric as a child – perhaps all children are to a certain extent. I remember on my fifth birthday walking up the driveway from the house we lived in – it seemed so very long that drive. I was going to visit the woman who helped my mother in the house.
We were quite poor when I was a child before the Second World War. We lived in the country and I didn't really have any playmates – but I didn't mind that at all. When I was very small I had an ‘unseen by others’ playmate whose name was David, but he did not stay for very long.
I appreciated everything in my life at that time. I could play for hours by myself making a whole universe out of some rocks, pebbles, moss and small grasses. I would make a whole farm with my few lead farm animals.
When I went to boarding school at ten years of age it took a little time to settle in but I made some enduring friendships there and although it was, in many ways, stultifying, it did not kill my enthusiasm for life. There was always something to appreciate.
After I left school I found life fascinating, endlessly interesting and challenging. I was not particularly outgoing but I was quietly appreciative of life.
I met the man who became my husband when I was eighteen and he was just twenty-one. We became engaged when I was twenty-one. I travelled to the UK where he was studying when I was twenty-two. I found the world outside the tiny island of Tasmania so fascinating.
We finally got married in Montreal Canada when I was twenty-three. A whole new way of living and life opened up and life was again exciting and interesting. We had learned over the five years since our first meeting, that we could trust each other implicitly and with that trust we had great respect for each other, this was a wonderful foundation for a long and loving relationship to be built.
Then the babies came and another new thing to appreciate. In 1963, we returned to Australia to live in Sydney. We built our first house and boy did we appreciate that! To have our own home and to make it as we wanted was such joy.
In the years following with three small children and a house to run with all that that entailed, I lost my sense of wonder a little bit. I felt a little overwhelmed by all the things that had to be done and I did not appreciate my children and nor did I connect with them as well as I could have.
During this whole time, my husband and I worked at our relationship and over the years this has deepened and become ever more loving. We have always helped each other in our own development and understanding of what life is about. When one of us becomes less than we can be, the other will point that out and we help each other to become more loving toward ourselves, each other and all others.
We have moved from the city to the country, have built another house, started many new projects – all of which we have appreciated greatly.
Now that we are in our eighties each day becomes a blessing. We wake in the morning and appreciate that one of us has not died during the night and that we have another day to spend together in this beautiful world.
I have found that appreciation is a key ingredient in many aspects of life, be it appreciation for an object, an experience, a friendship or for self. It is most definitely a key ingredient in a long and loving relationship.
Rowena P., Australia