Don't overlook the free things

The free things offer so much more than almost anything you could throw your money at.

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    Tourists walk through the Lower Geyser Basin in Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming on May 13, 2011. Don't forget to enjoy the free things all around you.l
    Ann Hermes / The Christian Science Monitor
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This morning, I woke up and looked out my window to see the dawning sun peeking between the horizon and a cloud.

Last night, I turned off all the lights in the bathroom and took a warm shower, letting the lack of light and the extra heat remind me of the wonderful feeling in every part of my body.

Yesterday afternoon, I went on a long walk. I enjoyed the fresh air and the feeling in my body from the gentle exertion.

Yesterday morning, my one year old son woke me up in bed by tapping me on the cheek and saying “Dad” over and over again. When I opened my eyes and looked at him, he laughed and clapped his hands.

Two days ago, I spent an hour looking at an art book at the library with my five year old son and my three year old daughter. We looked at the works of impressionists, post-impressionists, and abstract impressionists while my son relaxed his head on my shoulder and my daughter pressed her face close to the book to see the details.

A few days ago, I sat on a park bench and listened to an amazing guitar player in the park, playing a few songs for his own enjoyment.

It is so easy in our busy lives to overlook the abundance of wonderful free experiences that life has to offer. The gentle beauty of nature. The amazing feelings generated by our own body when we exert it. The aromas available in a restaurant district. The warmth of companionship. The feel of warmth on your skin. The intellectual challenge of a book or a conversation. The look in a loved one’s eye.

Take today and spend some time enjoying the free things your life gives you. Take a walk outside instead of firing up the television. Turn off your cell phone and have a face-to-face conversation with your neighbor. Watch the sun set. Make yourself a meal that fills your house with wonderful aromas. Take a hot shower and feel the warmth on your skin. Turn on a radio to an oldies station, pull your wife into your arms, and dance with her for a while as you whisper in her ear how lovely she is today.

It is through the experience of the infinite beauty of the free things available in our lives that we can deeply appreciate what a dollar is and what you can use it for.

Me? I’d rather use that dollar to secure my ability to enjoy these things for the rest of my years than to seek out an item or an experience that just provides me with merely a fleeting rush of joy. There is so much more to be had from the sensation of a child holding your hand or the smell of freshly-grown grass than there is from almost anything I could throw my money at. Why not preserve those experiences and give yourself countless opportunities to enjoy them by being careful with your spending?

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