Lately I have been feeling very grateful for the things in my life that I don't appreciate often enough. As a type A person, I am always striving to be the best me that I can be. Sometimes that's a good thing. It's important to me to be constantly improving, so I have a long list of things that I'm always working on in different areas of my life, including education, career, fitness, mental health, strengthening my relationship, friendships, my personal style, etc. However, by being so goal-oriented, I think I sometimes forget to appreciate who I am, where I am, and what I have right now.
For example, I am incredibly grateful that I have been blessed with overall good health. Obviously, I have a few minor conditions just like everyone else, but nothing so serious that it impacts me on a daily basis. In fact, I can only remember a few times in my life when I have been sick for an extended period of time. Once was when I injured (and re-injured) my upper back for several months. The first few weeks afterwards were miserable, because I could neither sit up nor lie down without agonizing pain. Also I had to go to physical therapy a couple times a week, and I kept re-injuring the same spot just doing daily activities, so the recovery time was very slow. That was an awful experience. Another time was when I had bronchitis for over two months. I would cough myself awake 5-10 times a night. I couldn't do any of the things I like to do normally, and I was too sick to see any friends. No fun at all. During both of those times, I slipped into temporary depression, so I can only imagine how people who have serious health conditions cope.
Recently I was hanging out with some friends when the conversation turned to personal health. One friend is currently struggling with an undiagnosed health issue. She and her husband are very frustrated with the situation, because she is in pain all the time and has zero energy, yet none of her doctors seem to have any idea why. As they continue to search for an answer, the condition has started to severely limit her life and even impact her normally cheerful disposition. Another friend revealed that she has moderate to severe scoliosis (curved spine), so she suffers from chronic back pain. There are some activities she just cannot do, because she knows it would aggravate her back. The only cure is surgery, but there are also significant risks that she's unwilling to take. I feel so much empathy for both of them, and I hope that things will get better. At the same time, it makes me realize I have been taking my own good health for granted, and it's important to appreciate it now while I still have it.
Some other things I feel grateful for: my boyfriend, friends, and family; having enough money to pursue a PhD while living a comfortable lifestyle; living in a first-world country that is (relatively) stable; how much progress I have made towards better mental health; being lucky enough to not have student loans or personal debt; having hobbies I enjoy and the money/health/time to pursue them. I am also grateful that I have this space to write down my thoughts, and I am grateful for all of you who take the time out of your day to read my posts and comment on them. There are more things of course, but these are the biggest ones I can think of at the moment. The next time I feel sad or angry or disappointed or frustrated, I would like to take a moment to think about what I already have and feel grateful.
What are you grateful for? Have you taken a moment to express your gratitude lately?