5 Reasons I'm So Grateful For The Life I Live

5 Reasons I'm So Grateful For The Life I Live

It doesn't have to be Thanksgiving for you to be thankful.
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My life is by no means perfect, I have had hardships that I had to overcome and things that I regret, but I'm thankful regardless!

1. I'm educated

Not everyone has the opportunity to go to college. Hell, a lot of people don’t have the opportunity to have any sort of education at all. Many can’t afford it, others have no access to education, and still, others are denied the right to go even if they could. I have been so blessed to have the opportunities that I do, that I have been lucky enough to freely pursue my dreams.

2. I have good friends

I have at least one ride-or-die, and those kind of relationships are what I’m here for. Having someone who’s willing to drive all the way to a strange city just to visit some nerdy conservation convention she has no interest in, just because she wanted to spend time with me, means more to me than I’d ever been willing to admit. I didn’t believe platonic soulmates were a thing until I met her.

3. I'm a big sister

I like kids, but after being surprised by two of them when I was living the high life as a spoiled only child, kind of ruined that for me. Even so, I’m thankful I have them. My life the past ten years would have been so boring without two little gremlins running around, messing up all my stuff. They’ve taught me to be measured in my words and actions, to be responsible even when I don’t feel like it, and to hide everything valuable when I leave.

4. I have supportive parents

My parents made me into the person I am today. This may sound cheesy, but the life lessons they gave me have shaped the kind of person I’ve grown into, and I feel like it would be fair to say that they did a pretty good job. My mom taught me independence and determination. My Stepdad taught me about responsibility and ambition. My dad taught me to respect and have self-confidence. My stepmom taught me compassion and diligence. These things have become the groundwork that I’ve laid my entire life upon, and I couldn’t be more grateful to the people who paved the way.

5. I don't have to worry about necessities

This is something that I feel like so many people take for granted nowadays. We like to focus on all the bad things that happen in our lives, but we always forget the thousand little miracles we encounter every day. We don’t remember to be grateful that we can turn on the faucet and have clean water come out. We don’t remember to be grateful that we can live our lives in comfort because of the sacrifices of people we’ll never know. You can rage and burn yourself out over things you’ll never be able to change, or you could appreciate the things you have. At least, that’s what I try to do.

I know I will make many more mistakes before my time is up. Despite that, I am reminded more and more of all the things I have to be thankful for, especially as I've gotten older and (hopefully) wiser. So these days, when things seem bad, I remind myself of the million reasons I am oh so lucky, and it always makes everything seem a little brighter.

Cover Image Credit: Alexia Darnell

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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When You Decide You Don't Love Me Anymore

I'll forgive you.

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I never thought I would write this, but I feel like I have to: there will come a day where you won't love me anymore. This won't be a sad day, but instead a day I have waited for all along. You see, they all leave and that is perfectly okay. People may not be meant to be in my life for all of it, not in any of our lives but this is normal and although initially saddening it is a part of our lives and inevitably part of our journey.

When this time comes I want you to know that we did our best, that we were in fact in love once and that we had hoped it would blossom into a lifetime commitment but it didn't and I accept that and will respect you always. I know you did not wake up one day out of the blue and stop loving me, I know this feeling grew over time in your heart and that it was not something you planned on. I respect this.

You were the only person I trusted and the one I loved the most, but nothing lasts forever and I hope you can understand there is no animosity here and certainly, no stone left unturned. We just are not those kinds of people, we would have tried everything to keep our love burning bright and tried for quite a while to understand where the cracks began so that could fix them, it just isn't that simple. Love is a long complicated process, you know that and falling in love with me couldn't have been easy, I am misunderstood and stubborn as all hell and I am FULLY aware of that but that does not mean I didn't try to ease up on you, I promise I did my best.

I have always done my best to understand you, to make you happy, to keep the flame alive, but it has been extinguished. Love does that sometimes, it is there one day burning bright and then it slowly starts to dim with every fight, every unrequited "I love you" and every day passing by in which we spoke less and less about the things that mattered and more and more about worthless things.

This is all okay, it is a season of life, a part of our lives in which we do suffer but one we must grin and bear. I want you to know that I will always love and care for you, although it is now in a much different way, now we no longer look at each other with doting eyes and open hearts but instead with the freedom to let go and move on.

It is time for us to go on with our lives and find a new adventure, one that will light our hearts on fire instead of continuing to snuff our joint flame. You will always be in my memory and a huge part of my life that I once had but I accept that it's over and that time sometimes wears on things as it has worn on us.

You are the love of my life and that is truly the reason I must forgive you.

Goodbye, my love.

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