Nina and Dani work together. Both are attractive single women in their mid-30’s. Nina’s not very focused on a relationship and yet it seems she’s constantly dating. Dani wants nothing more than a relationship and she barely leaves her house. What’s going on?
The simple answer is: Nina appreciates and Dani wants. Nina feels lucky every day. She moved to Canada from a very poor country so for her turning on a tap and getting clean water is a pleasure. She’s warm and safe, there’s a police force, the government isn’t dangerous, and she’s never worried about her little sister getting raped and yet that was her main fear growing up back home.
Nina feels lucky and it’s written all over her face. As she looks to and fro she sees things she is so grateful for that it lights her face and voice right up. She has bountiful amounts of energy and she’s always volunteering for charity groups at work, she’s very active in her community, and she invites her friends over often and it’s rare when she doesn’t accept an invitation too.
Nina’s life is busy but it brings her into contact with so many people that–even though she’s not really looking for a relationship right now–she still accepts most offers for dates because you never know. She’s always ready for her life to get better.
Dani’s family integrated a long time ago. Clean water and safe streets are nothing new to Dani and so she takes all of that for granted. In fact, she’ll even go so far as to mock people who try to value those things because she’s never walked down a street or slept in her bed and felt terrified. To her safe, warm and fed are normal.
Dani’s dream isn’t something vague like freedom. Hers is detailed. She knows exactly what kind of guy she’s looking for. She knows what kind of ambition he has, what kind of personal look, and she definitely wants someone her friends and family will consider a good catch.
Dani however is frustrated that she hasn’t been able to find a match to her dream. And as she’s aged she’s watched some lines creep across her eyes, her naturally svelte figure is now a bit more lumpy, and her mid-level administration job has turned her wardrobe into little more than a source of pockets.
For Dani it’s the same monotony every day. Her same dull uninspiring boss, the same tasks, the same drive home, the same packaged dinner and then she’ll exhaustedly tour through a few dating websites in the hopes of finding someone for Friday or Saturday.
Meanwhile Nina finishes work and then races over for her free meal at a nearby hotel where the social team is putting together the company Christmas party–even though Nina’s not even Christian. She laughed when she got there because the meal was the exact same thing she ate last week when a guy from the volunteer association in her neighbourhood took her out to thank her for her hard work.
When men look at Nina they see a vital, engaged and awake human being. Someone who lives each moment as fully as she can. She says yes a lot. Meanwhile Dani says no a lot. She’s always got reasons that she can’t enjoy her life. She’s an expert at providing them to the point where she can not enjoy it even when it would be easy to enjoy.
Nina goes out with men because it seems like it would be fun and it’s rarely unpleasant. Dani sits at her computer looking at profiles wishing she had a life. While Nina is living Dani is wishing. Nina moves past her sometimes initially tired reactions and she goes toward life. Dani always champions her tiredness and says no.
Your life is beautiful because you make it that way. Appreciation is an act not a result. If you’re complaining about your life it’s time you looked at it for the opportunities you are almost certainly squandering every day. The question is, will you find them and will you do anything about them?
Start today. Make fun a priority in your life. That’s how it happens.
Scott McPherson is a writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and nonprofit organizations around the world.