Today is not Thanksgiving. As a matter of fact, it’s not even close. However, taking daily doses of gratitude helps fight the disease of taking all of life’s important things for granted. We can all find things on this list for which we are thankful. If there are people on this list who make you thankful, make it a habit to let them know!
You woke up this morning
The MOST important thing to be thankful for on this list. Whether you woke up at 5:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. (which isn’t technically morning), waking up gives you the opportunity to face the day and anything that comes with it.
You can laugh
Laughter relieves stress, boosts the immune system, decreases pain, and shifts your perspective. It truly is the best medicine and something to be thankful for! In the words of Charles Dickens,
“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
You have the ability to read
The ability to read is a gift often taken for granted but used everyday. The world literacy rate is at about 84% (people age 15 and over). So if you find yourself in that number (and I assume you are, otherwise you wouldn’t be here!), be thankful!
If you love (or know how) to read, #ThankATeacher! We have all had teachers, whether they be parents or employed by a school. Teachers pour massive amounts of time, energy, and effort into their students and that is definitely something to be appreciated.
National Teacher Appreciation Day is May 7, but take time to appreciate a teacher today!
You have common sense
Someone once told me, “Common sense and the ability to reason are things I am thankful for every single time I come across someone who does not posses them.” I couldn’t put it any better.
Although you may not be particularly pleased with your hours, your pay, or your boss at the job or jobs you currently have, being employed is definitely something to be thankful for. Having a method of providing for yourself and/or your family is an essential key to life.
Your talents and skills
I am grateful and thankful every time someone shares or appreciates something I write. I am thankful, not because it means I am great, but because it means that my skill of writing has communicated a message that has connected with someone else. And everyone reading this has skills and talents of their own, not to be compared with anyone else’s, but to be honed and used to the best of their ability.
Your public servants
Imagine a world without the post service, police officers, medics, your representatives and congressmen, and the people who work to clear those long lines at the DMV. Not a fun place to live without these services. You can be thankful for the contribution each and every public servant makes to maintain your way of life.
What would life be without emotions? Would being happy or glad be so rewarding if there was no emotion of sadness? Emotions, whether they be good or bad, add flavor and variety to life. Take time to appreciate each emotion for what it is telling you. And share in the emotions of others! Shared sadness makes it bearable, and shared happiness is that much sweeter.
You can see
The human eye can see approximately 10 million colors. TEN MILLION! The palette of colors, shapes, and sizes, much like the variety of emotions, makes each moment in life different if only we would pay attention. And not only sight, but the rest of the senses as well! Take the time to be thankful for the feel of plush carpet between your toes, the sound of your kids’ laughter, and the smell of freshly baked banana bread!
You have food
Speaking of banana bread….
Be thankful that you have food to eat, food in your refrigerator, pantry, cupboard, or even a taco truck across the street.
At least 50 million Americans were unable to afford food at some point last year. and 842 million people in the world do not have enough to eat. These striking numbers should incite not only a spirit of gratitude, but encourage you to help those 842 million in any way you can.
You are healthy
Be thankful that the doctor can’t remember your name! Being in good health is something that is assumed, taken for granted until it is no longer there. Being grateful for good health doesn’t just mean celebrating no trips to the doctor either. One of the best ways to be thankful for good health is to maintain it. Get the right amount of sleep, drink water, exercise, and keep up a proper diet to ensure that this stays on the list of things you are thankful for.
Your true friends
Your Facebook friends may reach high into the thousands.
You may have 800 followers on Twitter.
British anthropologist Robin Dunbar proposed that a person can only maintain stable social relationships with about 150 people.
These are all very nice, but it is your true friends, the number you may be able to count on one hand or finger, who you should be the most thankful for. The friends who you can call at 2:30 a.m., the loyal, non-judgmental, brutally honest true friends. Be thankful for them and do all you can to maintain those relationships!
Family is family. While friends have been called the ‘family’ you choose, nothing can replace your family. Your brothers and sisters, your parents and grandparents have all played an intricate part in helping you get to where you are now. Take the time to keep in touch and let them know how much you appreciate them!
You are loved
No matter the situation with your friends, or with your family, know that you are loved. Just knowing that someone out there cares for you makes getting through a tough day or situation a little bit easier.
You have clean water
Water is life. But 783 million people do not have access to clean water, and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. Approximately 8 million people die annually from the consequences of disasters and water-related diseases. Be thankful.
You have a place to live
Be thankful for your home, whether you have four garages or four simple rooms that you share with your four simple roommates (trust me, I’ve been there). Having four walls and a ceiling above you is not to be taken for granted, especially in these winter months, when depending on where you are, temperatures can dip below zero.
Also, take the opportunity to help the homeless in your neighborhood! What better way to show that you are grateful for what you have?
You can be thankful for some of the negative situations in your life as well!
They were here, and for whatever reason, they’re gone. But what they left behind, besides their bad taste in CDs and old t-shirts, are lessons that you can take and apply to the next relationship you enter into to make it better than any that came before. Your future thanks your exes.
“It shouldn’t be easy to be amazing. Then everything would be. It’s the things you fight for and struggle with before earning that have the greatest worth. When something’s difficult to come by, you’ll do that much more to make sure it’s even harder – or impossible – to lose.” ―Sarah Dessen
And if you have read through this list and don’t connect with too many things listed here, whether it is because they don’t exist for you or have not been present in your life, these last few are especially for you:
You have the ability to change your situation
Be thankful that you have the opportunity to make positive changes in your life.
Do you have an estranged relationship with your family? Think about any small steps you can take to fix it.
Not currently working? Make unemployment your job. Search, apply, and interview until something changes.
Don’t think you have true friends? Be a true friend to someone else.
You are a survivor
You may not have a home, you may not have had a good family, and you may not have had good teachers.
You might be in a period of prolonged unemployment, and you may have recurring health issues.
But you have survived it all to make it this far, and each breath is a reminder of the fact that….
You are alive.
Which means everything else in this list is still a possibility.
What else are you thankful for? WHO are you thankful for? Share below in the comments.