My life has been busy, like really busy, the last month or so. When my life gets busy I (we?) tend to fly from one activity to the next without really thinking, without really taking it all in and without being fully present in the moment. When my stress builds up and my to-do lists seem never ending I stop appreciating my warm bed, my comfortable job and my fridge full of good food. I stop taking in breaths of fresh air. I stop noticing the morning sunrises and appreciating the everyday comforts of my life. I stop noticing the little things and I forget that there is so much to be grateful for every day.
My life has been extremely busy in the last month and it’s looking like September and October are going to be just as busy. In between running around “getting things done” I have been thinking a lot about what type of person I want to be when things get busy. I’ve been thinking I want to be a more grateful person, a more balanced person, a more appreciative person. I want to be an example to others and more importantly I want to lead by example. I want to be someone who yes, gets her shit done, but I also want to be someone who is fully present, modest, gracious, and grateful. I don’t want the little things that “need to be done” or the “big problems” I have in life to distract me from life’s simple pleasures. As a reminder to myself and to others, when life’s to-do list seems overwhelming or problems seem so big, remember to stop, breath, and recognize there is something to be grateful for everyday…
1. You’re Alive
Every day you wake up be grateful that you’re alive. Your life is the most precious gift you will ever be given. In my 27 years of living I’ve realized that nothing in life is certain, even life itself. Anyone’s life can be taken suddenly and without warning. Be grateful to be living. Be grateful to be breathing. Every morning you wake up be grateful that another day has been given to you.
2. Your Body
Be grateful for your body, it is a priceless thing. It gives you the ability to move, to breath, and to create more life. Your body allows you to jump in puddles, swim in oceans, laugh until you cry, play with your children, feel the warmth from the sun, and create memories. It is capable of so, so many things. Your body is your own, no one else’s. You alone have the ability to shape it, grow it, and nurture it. Be grateful for your body. Be respectful of your body, love it and nurture it. Fuel your body well, take care of it and you will have the capability to accomplish great things.
3. Your Freedom
Be grateful for the freedoms that you have in your life. Be grateful for the freedom to make your own choices. You have the freedom to choose who you love, who you’ll marry, and to choose who you spend your time with. You have the freedom to go to school and to learn. You have the freedom to have opinions and express those opinions. You have the freedom to change your opinions. You have the freedom to ask questions, disagree with others, argue, and to ask for explanations. You have the freedom to travel and to explore. Freedom is such a beautiful thing when you really think about it. It is such a powerful idea, yet you can’t touch freedom, you can’t see freedom, you can’t smell freedom. But, you can be aware that it is there, this powerful concept, every day waiting for you to utilize it and for that you should be grateful.
Be grateful for nature and the beauty in it’s simplicity. Flowers, trees, grass, mountains, lakes, rivers, animals, everything (well almost everything) in nature is beautiful and unique. Nature is like living art, a living energy that surrounds us everyday. We are lucky to share this planet and live in sync with nature. Take time to enjoy being out doors. Exploring your back yard. Studying plants and rocks and animals. Walking along the beach and feeling the sand between your toes. Sitting in the sunlight. Watching the sun set. Breathing in the fresh air and gazing up at the clouds. Be grateful for the ability nature has to provide calmness and spark curiosity.
5. Your Family
Although they’re not perfect, although you may argue, fight, bicker, and pick on each other, your family is still your family. Your parents gave you life and brought you into this world. You are here because of them. Your family is there to support you, to listen to you, and to love you unconditionally. They have taught you values and lessons that you can take and apply to your own life. You have the ability to start your own family and to love and raise your own children. So when you get annoyed because your Mom “asks to many questions” remember that she does it because she loves you and she cares. For this you should be grateful.
6. Your Friends
Your friends… They know everything about you and they love you regardless. Friends are there for you to vent to, lend a shoulder to cry on, and encourage you. They’ve seen you at your worst and they’ve seen you at your best. Friends will give you honest advice. Friends are for creating memories, laughing, and growing and learning with. I’ve found as I get older it is a lot harder to maintain friendships. It takes more work and effort, but it is so worth it. I think I tend to take my friendships for granted and forget how lucky I am to have so many wonderful friendships in my life. I know that if I ever needed anything they would be there for me in a heart beat. And for that I am grateful.
7. Your Opportunities
Everyday we are blessed with new opportunities and for this I am grateful. We have opportunities to learn, to work, to travel, to meet new people, to have enlightening conversation. It is up to us to take advantage of each opportunity that we are presented with and also to seek out new opportunities. We need to stop hesitating, stop saying no, and start saying yes to these opportunities. Once you stop to think about it, there are opportunities everywhere waiting for us and for this I am grateful.
8. Fresh Air and Water
Be grateful that everyday you are able to go outside and breath in clean, fresh air. Be grateful for having access to clean water to drink everyday.
9. Modern Day Luxuries
I am grateful for the modern day luxuries that not everyone is able to have or afford. My car, my cellphone, my fridge, my coffee maker, my toaster (okay ALL my kitchen gadgets), public transportation, 24/7 super markets, electricity, air conditioning, modern day medicine, computers, internet, indoor plumbing, the list goes on… We are so spoiled and so used to these luxuries that make our day to day life easier we forget to stop and really truly appreciate them. After all, they are luxuries that not everyone has or will ever have.
10. The Little Things
A child’s laughter, curling up with a good book, a hand written card, birthday presents, a home cooked meal, live music, a warm cup of tea, fresh flowers, a good conversation, a mid-afternoon nap, a lightening storm, a bonfire on the beach, fresh picked vegetables, warm blankets, ice water with lemon, a hug from someone you love. Be grateful.
What little things are you grateful for everyday? How do you actively remember to be grateful?