Are you thankful?

Are you thankful? For what you have in your life? For your friends? Your family? For just being alive? I’m sure that without hesitation you’re going to say yes, because of course we’re thankful for those things, but it’s not until we’re without things that we take for granted that you truly understand the word thankful, and what it really means.

I still remember the first night I’d gotten my new apartment. I was in such a rush to stay there, rather than my horrid living arrangement that I’d been stuck in, that I went there with nothing more than my phone, its charger, a single pillow and a blanket, with the carpet as my mattress. I remember the feeling I had when I lied down on that floor and looked up at a blank white ceiling that I’d just finished painting two days ago, and as I fell asleep with a smile on my face, the only word that came to mind was “thankful.”

The other day, after a hard night of work, during a week where the only time I could spend with my girlfriend was after I finished working, and the only thing we could do was stay in at home and watch a movie and find what we could to eat, because bills had come in that week, it hit me. I lied down on the floor, and just stared at the ceiling, and I ended up tearing up a little bit. Between two and three years ago, I faced homelessness. I had never gone to college or taken any of the steps to get into it. I’d spent five years, from the ages of seventeen until twenty-two, in an abusive relationship with somebody who would threaten their life if I spoke about wanting to leave. I went from having what felt like no friends, to having friends that, if I told them I was broke, their response would be “Well I’m not, so get out here.”

I’m twenty-six years old. In less than two weeks, I’ll be celebrating a year long relationship with my girlfriend. Around a month ago I finished my first year of college in the Criminal Justice field with a 3.1 GPA while simultaneously holding down a full-time job as a pizza baker and a cashier. To say that my life has been full for the last year and a half would be an understatement.

Trying to remain positive in life is hard at times, and it’s one of the hardest things in life to do. When you compare what you have, to what others have, it’s hard to see where you stand, because we aren’t in their shoes. Look at yourself though. What has changed in your life from five weeks, five months, or even five years ago? Who has entered your life and left a positive impact? You’re alive right now, and it’s never too late to begin doing something with it. The next time you start to feel overwhelmed, or like too much is happening to you, just stop. Stop for five minutes, lie down on the floor and look at the ceiling. Close your eyes and just think about your life. Think of the word thankful as I have used it today. You don’t need to have just bought a new car, or have gotten your dream job. Start small. Today I’m thankful because I got out of bed. I’m thankful that when I woke up this morning I saw my beautiful girlfriend beside me. I’m thankful that I had breakfast. I’m thankful to be alive.

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