We humans are the most “wanted” species. We want more. More money, more time, more energy, more friends, and more shoes. Just more. We take everything we have for granted, never learning to acknowledge our rights at so many levels. As I said above, however, we can change. We can take a good look at our lives and learn to appreciate what we have, starting with these seven things that you should not take for granted.
- Talk to our parents
Of all the things we take for granted, the simple ability to communicate with our loved ones is at the top of the list. Even if we feel blue because you can only connect by phone or text message, we are very lucky that they have accepted you on the other side. Many would donate anything to get a chance to hear their mother’s voice or see a “dad’s joke” popping up in their inbox. We should never take too little time to communicate with our parents because they will not be with us forever.
- The power to just get up and walk
I saw this amazingly meme one day when a guy in a red car wished he had a sportier car. Then the boy in the old car wants a new one, followed by a man on a bicycle who wants to own a car. Next, the man waiting for the bus wants a bicycle. It ends with a man in a wheelchair wishing for his legs. The point is to remind us that we all have something that someone else needs, and gratitude that we have.
However, the man finally gives us all the other reminder of something we take for granted – the power to just get up and walk away. Whether we are driving, taking a bus, taking an Uber, riding a bicycle, or simply using our legs, we have a choice. The fact that we can never leave our homes is something we should never take for granted, especially considering that between 20-40 million people are currently living in slavery because of human trafficking.
When it comes to life, the most important thing is that you take things in stride or try to take things in stride.
- The sound of our children’s voices (yes, even if they cry loudly)
Let’s face it – most of us have a laid back attitude when it comes to painting a picture about ourselves. Especially the one with the silence button! Hey, it doesn’t make us bad parents, we wish they would just keep quiet for five minutes so we could end the conference call or hear what the news was about. Just remember, it is a privilege to hear those words, even if they are spoken very often.
Just as many sons and daughters can give anything in one moment to their parents, so many mothers and fathers can move to the planets to hear their child’s last laugh. On the other hand, millions of infertile couples may happily attend disrupted Zoom meetings if that means achieving their parental dreams. So, never take your kids for granted, even if they call you bonkers altogether.
- Clean water for cooking, drinking and bathing
Water is one of the few things we need in order to survive, and it is one of the simplest things we can take for granted. When we need a recipe, we turn on our tap and there it is. Need to be clean after a long day’s work? Hop in the shower and turn the button on hot. Dry? Pour a cup under your water holder, hit the button, and rinse – clean water.
Did you know, that, more than 780 million people worldwide do not have that luxury? Even here in the US, 63 million Americans do not have access to safe, clean drinking water. Do the math. In a country with a population of about 333 million, that is an astonishing 18% without clean water. As the Water Project explains, “Half of the world’s hospital beds are full of people suffering from water-related illness.” Imagine the next time you fill a pot to boil pasta, jump in the shower, or swallow a cold glass of H20, and I bet you’ll stop taking it lightly.
We do not know how much water there is until the well is dry.
- Ways to choose healthy foods
Healthy eating is very important to me and my family. I avoid processed foods and choose organic products where possible. However, I know it is a privilege, to be able to make those decisions for my family. I know I should never take it for granted because over 820 million people worldwide go to bed hungry every night. That’s about 1 billion people who would like to get anything to fill their stomachs, live or not.
If you think that hunger is just a problem in “developed” countries, think again. About 41 million people (about 11% of US households) suffer from food insecurity each year. Sadly, after current events and the unprecedented number of jobs lost, that number is likely to rise by 2020. For those who think, “Well, they get food stamps, they should be fine,” consider this – the average person earns $ 5 a day on food trains. Day. Not food. Day. So never underestimate the power of healthy food.
- A boring night at home
Have you ever had that night when you couldn’t sit still and feel like you were going crazy because of boredom? There are no movies in your favorite ten streaming services. None of the 1,000 books in your Kindle cried out, “Read me!” The whole house is clean from top to bottom, the children are in bed, and there is nothing you need to do. Hey, we all have that night. They stink, don’t they?
The next time you feel lonely in your race, try this. Write down all the reasons why you have the right to be bored. Your work is done all day and is financially secure enough that you do not have to spend all night working on “side hustles” to make your rent. You have a roof over your head that doesn’t come out. Your children sleep through the night alone. Together one million items are ready to give you a chance to get bored. Don’t take it lightly.
- Time to spend with our family
I bet sometimes we all wish we had less time to spend with our families, right? Some events keep us locked up in a house with no one but each other. Maybe illness keeps us at home. Maybe it’s a storm warning, a hurricane, or even a rotten car. Whatever the reason, we find ourselves with little choice but to spend the best time together.
Instead of cursing the whole world by removing your option to leave your home, rejoice that you have a home to live in. Many do not. Some wish they could be at home with their families, but work in “important” industries and not have the luxury of it. Some don’t even have families to spend time with and struggle with loneliness day and night.
We often take for granted the very things that we are most grateful for.
When you think about it, there are probably thousands of things that you take for granted every day. We all do, so don’t think I’m standing in a teaching statement here. We tend to want more, to live in a society that tells us we have never had enough. If we sit back and think about everything we have, however, we will stop taking so many things lightly and see that we are really lucky.