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.

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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I Blame My Dad For My High Expectations

Dad, it's all your fault.

I always tell my dad that no matter who I date, he's always my number one guy. Sometimes I say it as more of a routine thing. However, the meaning behind it is all too real. For as long as I can remember my dad has been my one true love, and it's going to be hard to find someone who can top him.

My dad loves me when I am difficult. He knows how to keep the perfect distance on the days when I'm in a mood, how to hold me on the days that are tough, and how to stand by me on the days that are good.

He listens to me rant for hours over people, my days at school, or the episode of 'Grey's Anatomy' I watched that night and never once loses interest.

He picks on me about my hair, outfit, shoes, and everything else after spending hours to get ready only to end by telling me, “You look good." And I know he means it.

He holds the door for me, carries my bags for me, and always buys my food. He goes out of his way to make me smile when he sees that I'm upset. He calls me randomly during the day to see how I'm doing and how my day is going and drops everything to answer the phone when I call.

When it comes to other people, my dad has a heart of gold. He will do anything for anyone, even his worst enemy. He will smile at strangers and compliment people he barely knows. He will strike up a conversation with anyone, even if it means going way out of his way, and he will always put himself last.

My dad also knows when to give tough love. He knows how to make me respect him without having to ask for it or enforce it. He knows how to make me want to be a better person just to make him proud. He has molded me into who I am today without ever pushing me too hard. He knew the exact times I needed to be reminded who I was.

Dad, you have my respect, trust, but most of all my heart. You have impacted my life most of all, and for that, I can never repay you. Without you, I wouldn't know what I to look for when I finally begin to search for who I want to spend the rest of my life with, but it might take some time to find someone who measures up to you.

To my future husband, I'm sorry. You have some huge shoes to fill, and most of all, I hope you can cook.

Cover Image Credit: Logan Photography

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Minimalism Addresses Our Culture Of Consumption

Decluttering your life and consuming less allows you to live in the moment.


Most of us, at some point in our lives, have become trapped by our culture of consumption. It's a disgusting display of wealth and social status that social divides us. This social divide does a great job at inhibiting our potential at building objective, meaningful relationships. Material possessions become our identity and we begin to lose a true sense of who we really are. It's entirely possible for us to exist as content, beautiful human beings without participating in the culture of consumption we have been duped into believing in.

The problem with our culture of consumption is that it has become a key aspect of every activity. We give too much value to "things," focusing less on their contribution to our overall wellbeing, passions, or happiness. We may experience temporary contentment or pleasure, but it seldom lasts forever. Minimalism eliminates the "things" from our routine, allowing us to find contentment from the simple things in life.

Minimalism is not an expensive hobby one takes up on the quest for self-discovering and happiness. There is this huge misconception that being a minimalist requires a fat wallet and that your life is now restricted by rules and limitations. This simply is not true. This misconception comes from the elitist culture which has emerged through social media outlets. This distorted perception has blurred the individualistic nature of minimalism. A lifestyle often associated as a fad is actually a lifestyle that de-clutters your physical and mental state.

Minimalists are people who…

  • Make intentional decisions; that add value to their lives.
  • Focus on personal growth and the quality of their relationships.
  • Live in the moment.
  • Discover personal potential by eliminating obstacles standing in our way.
  • Consume less and intentionally.
  • Gift experiences rather than material possessions.

There isn't anything necessarily wrong with owning material possessions. If you find importance in an object that genuinely makes you happy then, great! Minimalism doesn't have to look like white walls behind aesthetically placed black furniture. This concept focuses on the internal value system we all forget we control. Start small; declutter your thoughts. We easily get stuck in our routines that we forget to look slow down and just breathe. Living in the moment is by far the most valuable aspect of minimalism because it allows us to feel and experience every minute of our existence.

If you're someone who enjoys nature, there's more value to be found in the adventures we seek out and create than those created for us. Discover birds you've never seen before, wander down trials in your neighborhood, or uncover beaches no one else knows about. You'll find more value in the creation of your own adventure because those experiences are completely your own.

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