Yesterday I thought I was experiencing my quarter-life-crisis. After a day full of heavy sighing, I crawled into bed and laid under a quilt my mom made me when I left for college. As I laid there like a slug, the only thoughts running through my mind were all of my problems. My “#firstworldproblems,” if you will. My credits didn’t transfer from the summer, my bank account was over-drafted, I had cankles from a recent tumble down the stairs, and the haunting thoughts of finals were creeping into my brain.
And then it hit me with extreme force. I realized how unbelievably selfish I was being. There I was, lying under all my blankets throwing myself a pity-party. These moments happen more than we realize. It’s easier to complain about all these worries instead of being genuinely grateful that you have the means to receive a higher education or that you’re able to have a bank account, unlike 10 million American households that don’t.
We get so caught up in the everyday routine of life that we forget to stop and count our blessings. Yes, yes, I know I’m being extremely cliche. Do I even dare to say “Stop focusing on how stressed you are and remember how blessed you are.” Throw in a couple #blessed and you should be good to go. In all seriousness, the fact that I’m not waking up every morning happy to be in a warm bed, is sad to say the least. Where has our perspective gone? The man who sits outside of Raising Canes on 14th and P streets is just happy he has a few bucks in his cup to buy a warm meal.
Whether or not a few bucks means as much to us, take time to consider other aspects of your life that deserve more gratitude.
Don’t take people for granted. Your family, your friends, the one who opens the door when your hands are too full. I’m exceptionally blessed that I can look up to my parents for an example of how love should be after 30 years. In this day and age, that is rare to find. If you can call your family at any time and are able to have a meaningful conversation, don’t take that for granted. Do you realize how few and far between those relationships are? Don’t forget the ones who have always been your cheerleaders. Be thankful that you have people in your life that believe in your efforts so much that they’ll stand behind you, no matter what.
The taste of love in home-cooked meals. Your arms embracing someone you’ve missed. The familiar scent of a fresh load of laundry. Finding yourself lost in the fall colors surrounding you. Be thankful you can use all of your senses. Leave nothing unexplored or untouched.
Be grateful for your health. If you’re ailing, be thankful for modern medicine and doctors. That you woke up this morning and are breathing and alive. Don’t overlook your 90 minute yoga class. Ninety minutes to change your state of mind, change your emotions and change your presence. Whatever your quality of life is be thankful.
Your community. Your baristas; they’re mostly likely getting you through the day, so why not throw a buck into their tip jar. Be grateful for teachers, religious leaders and fitness teachers. Next time you see your mailman, say a quick thank you for delivering important letters and packages.
Don’t take the small things for granted. A warm bed to collapse on at the end of the day. Originality, creativity and the like. Inspiration; muses and daydreams. Literature that challenges and inspires you. Friends who make you laugh until you can’t breathe. Roommates that, no matter when, are always down to snuggle in your twin-sized bed.
Although I’m trying to find the best in little, everyday things, I’m not blind to the daily pains and annoyances of life. Less than perfect things are going to happen, and it’s our first instinct to complain. But our constant habit of doing so inhibits us from having perspective on certain aspects of our lives. If we find a way to live with more gratitude and awareness, especially with Thanksgiving right around the corner, we will come to find out that complaining is really a privilege we should use sparingly.