Jay Rifenbary

Jay Rifenbary's Blog

Appreciating Each Day


Through the course of my life autumn has always stimulated a time of personal reflection and assessment on the course my life has taken, and its future. It is a panoramic theater of change, inspiration and awe as nature lets go of yesterday and prepares for tomorrow. It is an opportunity for all of us to discard the destructive baggage of what was, take selfless pride in what we have accomplished, and be thankful for the loving people in our life. As we reflect on world events and the anxiety of what tomorrow may bring it is an appreciation of each day that makes living each day worthwhile.

To know there are those who love you, respect you, and appreciate you is a primary reason to wake up each morning, and a thankful reason to rest your head on that pillow each night. To be appreciative of each day stems from not just being thankful for what is around us, but being thankful for what is within us. The more at peace you are with who you are, the happier each day will be.

Personal peace is the result of personal honesty and taking accountability for the choices and decisions you have made. An acceptance of self and a willingness to serve others enhances the appreciation of each experience we encounter. The timeless cliché of “It could always be worse” is not something to be used as an excuse for not taking responsibility for what may have occurred, but rather an instrument to know how blessed you may be.

This past summer I ruptured my bicep tendon and as a result had surgery and a subsequent cast put in place. Ironically I was scheduled to conduct a presentation for a Wounded Warrior Symposium in Indianapolis. Although seeing the subtle humor with my physical predicament and the venue in which I was speaking, it was challenging, a bit cumbersome and restricted my normal animated passion while presenting my message. The wake up call occurred when the speaker before me wheeled himself up on stage, absent of both legs, and minimal use of one arm. Seeing and listening to my fellow graduate from West Point share his combat experience I humbly realized that I was having a pretty good day.

It has been, and always will be, the greatest challenges in your life that will create the greatest understanding of who you are. Without confronting trials and tribulations there is no way to decipher an understanding of the values you believe to be most important. It is this understanding that provides the resilience and strength to persevere. There was a moment that my fellow alumnus shared that he contemplated suicide, but realized he had others who loved him regardless of being wheel chaired bound. It was an opportunity to be stronger, set a proper example for those around him, and not use his situation as an excuse to not be giving, loving, and an honorable father and husband. What did you wake up and whine about today? What you don’t have, what you should have done, what someone did to you four years ago and so on? Such an attitude generates self-centeredness, encourages negativity, and initiates a mindset of entitlement. How can you appreciate each day when you are not even appreciative of yourself?

Five keys to appreciating each day are: * Know and accept that there are those who love you, believe in you and want you in their life. You have the ability to make a positive difference in the life of another by the example you set every day. * Take a life break and treasure the beauty around you. A simple flower, a blue sky, a sunset, a changing leaf puts things in perspective in regard to what a miraculous world we live in. * Realize you have purpose, and have the opportunity to live a purposeful life. * Recognize what you do have instead of what you don’t have, and experience the joy of being more selfless than self-centered. * Live the values you believe in. It provides the framework to appreciate who you are, and therefore appreciate each day. Make it a wonderful day.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

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