Last week my aunt invited me to participate in the 7 Days of Gratitude Challenge. It’s actually something I’ve personally been focusing on lately, so I’m happy to share what I’m most grateful for. I do want to present it in a slightly different light though, and dig deep. Hopefully I can share with you why I’m grateful for the things that have made me, me!
Day 1: Friends and Family, of Course!
Unsurprisingly, I’m grateful for my amazing friends and family, without whom I wouldn’t be where I am today. Even though I live worlds away, I am ever so lucky to be able to maintain relationships with all the people I love; my parents, brother, extended family, and closest friends never feel all that far away. You have always been supportive of my crazy decisions and just as excited (sometimes more!) by my opportunities. I will always be grateful for the guidance and support you have given me. I am also grateful that I somehow manage to keep forming lifelong friendships, you are an awesome bunch of people!
Day 2: An Adventurous Spirit
I am constantly on the go. Sometimes that is quite literal as I jet around the world or explore new places, and sometimes it’s all in my head. From a young age my parents instilled in me a love of learning and insatiable curiosity. I love meeting new people, seeing new places, trying new things, and collecting memories. I think a lot of people “suffer” from wanderlust, but I thrive on it and am grateful every day for my adventurous spirit. It’s absolutely thrilling to impress yourself by constantly experiencing new things!
Day 3: Ability to Travel
Obviously, that spills over into my love of travel. I am grateful for every moment I get to explore. Traveling is one of my greatest passions. It is fun, exciting, tiring, strange, delicious, and often humbling. I am grateful for all the opportunities I have to travel. I am grateful for a job overseas that allows me to take time off, and save money, so that I can continue traveling. Thanks to amazing travel companions, time off work, and supportive friends, my travel bucket list is both shrinking and growing!
Day 4: Food
I hope you’re not laughing! I love food. I love baking, cooking, preparing food, and of course, eating. I love learning new recipes, arranging food on plates, and sometimes taking pictures of lovely presentation. I love that food can fuel my body for any activity, and bring people together. I am grateful that I have always had food. I haven’t always had the best relationship with it, but I have always had access to it. Knowing how many people don’t get enough to eat each day, I am incredibly thankful for never having to worry when my next meal will come.
Day 5: Nature
This is something I often overlook and forget how much I need it. When life gets crazy busy I am always so much happier when I take a few minutes to spend time outside. I feel so grounded by beaches, mountains, grassy fields, taking walks, watching stars, swimming, occasionally stomping in puddles, etc. I’m grateful that I live in a place where I can visit a variety of landscapes anytime I like. The world is an amazing place, and I’m very grateful I have chances to enjoy its wildness.
Day 6: Music and Art
I sing all the time. When I’m bored, when I’m sleepy, when I’m happy or upset. In the shower or not. I have lost my voice a few times due to illness or overuse and those were difficult, difficult days, my friend. In my down time I craft, draw, paint, look up knitting patterns, etc. My memories and dreams are based in colors and sounds. Without music and art I don’t think I would have learned to express myself in any capacity, and I wouldn’t be me. It seems almost silly to say I’m grateful for all the music and art in my life, but I really truly am. I am grateful that through them I can express emotions when no words are available, and for the constant entertainment they both provide.
Day 7: My Body
This is pretty revolutionary for me to say, but here it goes: I am grateful for my body. I don’t have the fittest, or the fastest, or the most beautiful, or a particularly enviable body. But it is my body. I am grateful that my body can walk, dance, swim, talk, be silly, make art, and play instruments. I am grateful that it is healthy and adaptable. I am grateful that it accomplished climbing Mt. Fuji (more on this later!), and amazed that it swam with whale sharks. I’m grateful that I am able to view my body in terms of what it can do, versus what it looks like as compared to unrealistic media standards. It’s a pretty recent phenomenon for me to have shifted my thinking, and even though I am not always happy with it, I am grateful that it is mine. And it works.
I tried my hardest to make this as honest a list as possible. This is by no means exhaustive. A few only just slipped by into honorable mention (education; laughter; increasingly global society;and fast, easy, communication). A month or so ago I began reflecting, almost daily, on these things and how thankful I am for so much in my life. Since starting that, I feel more present, empowered, proud, and aware of myself. Thanks to my wonderful Auntie Anne for asking me to share!