The Rome Museum

I had the incredible opportunity to visit the wonderful country of Italy last week. We visited different regions but stayed mostly in Rome. I was thinking of titling this post The Museums of Rome but that doesn’t really convey my intended message. There are indeed many museums in Rome. In fact it seemed to me that many of the buildings were museums. Certainly many buildings held artifacts from history. 

       

But as I walked around with my wife I couldn’t help but notice people looking up, looking over and taking picture upon picture. It was then that it occurred to me that Rome itself was a museum. The whole city, every inch of it!

I was a bit amused when one of our guides would describe a building as “modern” because it was build in the 1800’s. History is all around you in Rome. You can see it but more than that, you can feel it. You can easily imagine the city 100’s or 1000’s of years ago and wonder if the people who built some of the magnificent structures thought that people 100’s of years in the future would still be marveling at them.    

I think I could spend years there and still be amazed at what I saw every single day. Then I started to wonder if that was true. Would I really marvel at the history of the city if I lived there day after day? Do “native” Romans marvel The Coliseum as they drive past it on their way to work each day? Are they in awe of what surrounds them on a daily basis? 

They should because they live in an incredible city. 

My guess is that many of them take their splendid city for granted. That’s not a knock on the friendly people of Rome, that’s a knock on all of us because no matter where we live, too many of us take what we have for granted.

When was the last time you stopped to consider all that you have? When was the last time you stopped to consider the “gift” of the people in your life. When was the last time you told the most important person in your life just how important they are to you? 

What would you miss the most if you woke up tomorrow and had nothing and no one in your life? Are you taking those things and those people for granted? 

Write down what’s important to you. Keep pictures with you of the people who matter most. Don’t let those people and things move to the bottom of your mind. Keep them on top, invest some time each day remembering how and why they matter. Show the people who matter that you don’t take them for granted and appreciate what you have while you have it, for as long as you have it.

Our world is an amazing place. Each of our individual worlds is equally amazing if we’ll just stop long enough to look around and consider our lives without it. 

I’m grateful for the opportunity to visit Rome and Italy but as I return home I’m no less grateful for what I have here. I learned a lot on my trip to Europe, I hope one of the things I’ve learned is to appreciate what I have just a little more. 

Be Thankful and Be Happy

On Thursday, November 28, the United States celebrates the National Holiday of Thanksgiving. It’s the one day during the year where we officially stop to reflect and give thanks for all that we have. 

One day. That unfortunately is a stretch for some folks. Those are the people who struggle to see the good in anything. If they won the lottery they may very well complain about the taxes they are expected to pay. They just don’t appear to be very happy people. 

On the other hand, there are people for whom one day a year isn’t nearly enough. They are incredibly thankful people. They see the good in almost any situation. They are the same people who look at a tremendous challenge and see only opportunity. They just appear to be happy people. 

Think about that for a moment. 

People who struggle to be thankful also seem to struggle to be happy. Thankful people are happy people. I don’t know if you must be happy to be thankful or you must be thankful to be happy but it really doesn’t matter. It appears that happiness and thankfulness go hand in hand. 

As you come to the end of 2013 and look forward towards 2014 take or make the time to seriously reflect on what you’ve accomplished. Think about the challenges you’ve overcome and the rewards you’ve received. Focus on what you have NOW, and not on what you wish you had. Reflect on the mere fact that you have the tools required to read this likely makes you one of the wealthiest people in the world. You’re blessed, if you haven’t taken the time to realize that then realize it now.

You’ll never be happier than YOU allow yourself to be. In this, the most wonderful time of the year decide to be incredibly happy, every minute of the day.