It seems like its difficult to realize the small things to be grateful for when the large and difficult problems keep knocking us back down. So I decided to make this an interactive journal. I’d like to challenge anyone who reads this to make a list of only 5 (or more if you want) things that you have that you didn’t realize you are grateful for.
It may not seem like much, but its a trick I have for when I feel like things are too much to handle or I feel like life keeps trying to throw bad things in my path. And I guarantee that if you’re creative, you’ll realize there’s more things than you thought there were. So I’ll give my examples and explanations on why these things keep me realizing that I can be happy for what I do have, instead of lamenting on what I don’t. These aren’t in any specific order, just the order they come to mind.
1) Water: Hot water, cold water, clean water, rain water. I am happy to have access to water whenever I could hope for it. I spent a while studying abroad in Central America and the thing I missed most was how often I can use water. I can take a hot shower anytime I’m depressed and wait for the emotions to pass. I can drink cold water. Both the water I wash with and drink is clean, and I appreciate it. Many times, I hate the rain, but now that I’ve been trying to garden I’ve been thankful for every drop of rain that gives my plant babies some refuge from the heat.
2) Internet: This wonderful technology has given me a place to realize that I’m not alone. There are other people with similar feelings and emotions, even if we feel that way for different reasons. It also has given me a way to find this place, where I can write my thoughts and feel like I’m talking to another person, without having to worry about judgment.
3) Gardening: I just recently picked up a lot of starter plants. I now have pots of vegetables housed in my grandmother’s yard (so my dogs won’t terrorize them). I never thought I’d be able to help something grow or take care of it. When I first got the plants, I was sure they were goners. It has helped me to see them every day, with new flowers that will soon turn to vegetables. It cheers me up, to see them progress day by day and know that soon I’ll have made the ingredients that could become a meal. And I also am glad that I have the space and resources to grow these plants, because I know they wouldn’t grow in some climates and that its a blessing to have them.
4) Boyfriend: I’m lucky to have a boyfriend, because it’s difficult to find someone who can deal with another person’s issues and their own. I found that person four years ago, and I might not be here typing this without that support. It also helps that he believes my crazy and puts up with my eccentricities now and again.
5) Mom: Although my family drives me crazy and they’re the root of many of my problems, there are a few members of my family I couldn’t live without. Almost four years ago, my mother had a surgery and was put under a medical coma that she didn’t come out of when she was supposed to. Instead, she spent a year being coined as “braindead” and most of my family was ready to give up on her. At the same time, my father had kicked me out of the house. My mom had a form that said there needed to be a signature from my dad, my brother, and I to take her off life support. I refused, because everytime I visited I would talk to her and I could see her eyes move or her hand would squeeze mine. Just when things had ended up rock bottom for me, she woke up. And she’s the other reason why I’m still here and why my family still puts up with me.
It’s probably obvious to be grateful to have a mom, or a boyfriend, or water. But these are things that I may not realize I have when I’m feeling sad or feeling like everything is wrong. I know that no one is going to have the same list I have, but I hope this might help someone else realize there’s at least five things they have that someone else might not and that its something that should be celebrated.
I know the next time I’m depressed, I probably won’t be thinking about my garden. I still know that by writing this when I’m not, that I’ll train myself to realize that even when I’m depressed there is some reason why I still keep on smiling. And I hope you will too!