In the fast-paced world of today, a few words of gratitude and thankfulness for what we have are rare. Things are taken for granted too often and the average individual is too busy stop and appreciate what he/she has. Here’s a list of ten things we all are guilty of taking for granted, a list which should make you rethink your life and slow down for a while:
One can never emphasize enough on the role family plays in our lives, yet how little we acknowledge what it has done for us. Family members, especially parents have a huge impact on our views and the way we approach life as adults, which is why parenting has been a topic of intense discussion and writing in the modern age. Our relationships with other members of the family, such as our siblings are also extremely special – something we only begin to realize once we start living on our own. The bond we share with our families might not be a perfect one, but if you are lucky enough to have a family living in some part of this world, if you do live with them right now – then make it a point to tell them how much they mean to you. Of the many things in life we take for granted, family should not be one of them. Irrespective of your differences and difficulties, cherish every moment you spend with family because those relationships we are given at birth and no matter how hard we try, they remain irreplaceable.
Your body is very much your own, and health is something we all should take seriously. As young people, we had little care for the world and what it had to say about the negative effects of certain habits on our health, but as we grow older we begin to learn that health matters. What we do today to our body, will manifest itself in a positive or negative form in the future. Sadly enough, we also have a tendency of taking our good health for granted. If we’re well, we are rarely thankful for it because we’re too busy to acknowledge just how much we depend on our body to function. Everything from our heart, brain, limbs to blood cells are important, but do we ever stop and wonder what we are doing to take care of them? We consume junk food high on cholesterol with abandon, we smoke, we drink, we live the good life. But how exactly are our actions affecting our health? Never fail to be grateful for the health of you and your loved ones, because we cannot predict what tomorrow will bring. Respect your body and treat it well – eat well, exercise and give yourself enough rest.
For most of us living in the present day, we have grown up reading history textbooks which talk about war, slavery and poverty of the yesteryears. We have grown up as free citizens of our respective countries, and the value of freedom has never really struck us as important. But even if it has, it’s only been at times when we explicitly feel that our freedom is being curbed by someone, such as a parent or an employer. What we fail to be grateful for on a daily basis is the freedom we have to live our lives the way want, make our own decisions and yet have the safety and security we’re all guaranteed by a government. We might complain against government rules and regulations, but one cannot deny that the kind of freedom we are used to enjoying from birth is something we are also guilty of taking for granted. This is relevant to our understanding of the world in significant ways, because there still exist people in parts of the world who don’t have the rights and liberties we do as members of organized societies. Cherish your freedom today, be thankful for what you have been given by set of people you may or may not even meet in your lifetime.
The Earth is our home, the most important life source we have and it is in our own interests to respect and preserve it. In a matter of a few hundred centuries in the long history of human evolution, we went from being nature worshipers to progress obsessed visionaries who fashioned a concrete jungle around ourselves to live more comfortably. Well, the environment is back on our radars again and governments all over are looking at newer, better ways to protect the natural world. What are we doing as individuals? The first step to protecting the environment is acknowledging the effect it has on you – everything from the weather, to ocean currents and depletion of the ozone is affecting us in small, but significant ways everyday. The least we can do is be thankful, to stop and appreciate something we have been blessed with. We’ve always had the choice to not litter the streets, to consume less plastic and to use energy resources judiciously – take control and make those choices today.
There is a reason why environmental issues are increasingly getting polarized into two kinds of debate – one on water, and the other on everything else. Water is something so essential to the functioning of everything around us, it’s almost worrying how little we know about the state of the world’s water sources today. The average citizen is not interested in these dynamics between natural resources and daily life, but we should be. And even we cannot contribute towards the conservation of water in a big way, we can always appreciate the fact that we live in a home where the taps are never dry. The reality of good sanitation and clean drinking water still eludes parts of the world and if you are lucky enough to be living with this precious resource then be thankful. We all can have a million complaints about the state of the world and the problems in our lives, but in the end it is the little things that count. Don’t shy away from the collective responsibility we all have towards the planet.
Education is a gift, something we should value and hold in the highest regard. But for most of us, the years of schooling and college have been productive, yet only restricted to the most formal kind of education one can get. The impact of education is diminishing today in terms of the real value it adds to our lives, people are after fancy degrees and experience that looks good on paper, but not so much in practical life. We need to start looking at education differently, by recognizing the massive impact it has on our thinking as we grow older. The first and most obvious step towards this is to respect whatever education we get, which goes much beyond the realm of formal schooling and college. Education is all around us, and anything informative and innovative can teach us something. Appreciate the relevance and power of good education, and never let go of an opportunity to learn something new.
A cozy bed to sleep in, a roof, some shelter and other luxuries we associate with life – the house you live in becomes your home the moment you establish some human relationships with people living in it as well. Never underestimate the power of home, never take it for granted either. If you live in a house of your own, or occupy one of rent, there is significant amount of money and hardwork associated with being able to afford the place you call home. This becomes clearer to us as we begin to exercise our independence as adults, and realize that the luxuries we are all so used to having around us should not be taken for granted. A roof over your head and a space you can call your very own is a luxury tons of people cannot afford even today, so be thankful for whatever you have, value the place you call your own.
We’re so used to walking on two legs since a very young age, that we fail to acknowledge the biological feat we as humans have achieved in the process of evolution. While our body functions are very similar to that of other mammals, humans have the rare ability of being able to learn how to walk on two limbs within a year of being born. A healthy infant starts walking within the first 18 months of birth itself, something we don’t observe in other quadrupedal species. To put it simply, bipedalism means having the ability to walk on our legs, and being to free our arms for other work while also having an eye level above that of the ground. Our body is so structured that we have our head perpendicular to the ground, contrary to other mammals which have their heads parallel to the ground. This biological fact is something we don’t reflect upon too often, because we’re always surrounded by people using their legs to walk and arms to do other things. Bipedalism frees our upper bodies and consumes far lesser energy while walking, which means we are able to use our energy stores for other activities apart from just eating and sleeping. However, not every individual is lucky enough to be able to walk on his/her two legs, as a result of a defect at birth or some sort of an accident. So be thankful for this amazing ability we have which rarely gets the appreciation it deserves.
Verbal communication in the form of languages changed the way we think and express. Both spoken as well written language has undergone dramatic transformation over the centuries, from the cave drawings of early man and hieroglyphics of the Egyptians to the modern day form of communication. There are thousands of languages that exist in the world today, some more common than the others, some breathing their last breaths and on the verge of extinction. The fact that we learn language right from day one, moving from spoken to written, means that even before we have developed proper thinking patterns and world views, we are using language to communicate. Thus, language remains to be one of the most underrated human achievements, because of the sheer fact that its all around. The easiest way to appreciate your own language is to hold onto it no matter where you go, to not lose touch with it and to keep returning to it from time to time so as to reconnect with yourself in a more meaningful way.
The first sign of illness prompts us to rush to the local drugstore and buy a medicine in order to feel better, or to visit a hospital to consult a doctor. Just how often do we stop and think about the extraordinary service medical technology and knowledge does to humanity? No growth in medicine has been against the idea of human welfare and development, right from the discovery of a small pox vaccine to the development of radiation techniques to fight cancer. Medical practitioners and researchers are constantly engaged in research and debate over better ways to save human life. More so that these services are available in our neighborhoods, in state hospitals at subsidized costs. The presence of medical aid in society and the work of people who spend their entire lives saving people goes unnoticed in our selfish will to survive. We want cures, we want to be looked after, but the average citizen rarely stops to notice what is lying at his behest. If nothing else, what we should be thankful for is the availability of medical aid which carries with it a sense of reassurance, something that large chunks of human population still live without.