A twist on the gratitude list: focus on what is AND “what if”


There’s a quote that I found and shared on Instagram recently that really resonated with me:

“Never kill your what ifs, but first be grateful for what is.”

– Drishti Bablani

What I like about it is that it reminds me how important it is to hold both: our gratitude for everything we already have and our dreams for the future.

Dreams without gratitude for the present is like trying to build a house without first building a solid foundation.

Striving for more without deeply feeling appreciation for the here and now means we’re always living for tomorrow.

So recognizing what’s good and already working is important and necessary for happiness today.

What we don’t want is to let gratefulness be a reason to stop growing and evolving.

Gratitude without dreams means that we can fall into a trap of, “things are good, who am I to want more?”

That’s why it’s equally important to stay open to the “what ifs” because they keep us consciously choosing where we’re going.

Having clear “what ifs” helps to guard against stagnation.

It’s not selfish to dream of more.

So let’s give ourselves permission to acknowledge all the wonderful, positive, incredible things in our lives AND to dream about what else we would love to create.

Here’s a quick exercise to help focus on both:

Divide a piece of paper into 2 columns and on one side write 5-10 things you are grateful for today; there is nothing too small to acknowledge. On the other side write down 5-10 “what ifs”; nothing is too big to dream about.

When you are done put your paper up somewhere you will see it every day as a reminder about what’s important to you.

This is the first step in a midlife redesign.


Hi, I'm Sara!

I'm here to reclaim the term 'midlife' and embrace the power these years offer us.

Join the conversation

Does this story connect with you?

Leave a comment or ask a question below.

Subscribe to the Power Years™ Newsletter

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
About the author

Sara Smeaton

I help you discover the joy and power in midlife and navigate the transitions on your own terms. I am passionate about changing the narrative about aging and am trying to fill the world with profiles of real life people who are thriving and more alive after 40 than ever before. The best is yet to come and there are role models all around us. Book your free 30-minute connection call.

Scroll to Top