Growing up has taught me a thing or two, but the loudest and possibly most important message I’ve gotten is the importance of not taking things for granted. (I would also like to add that the prior sentence does not in any way mean that I am calling myself a grown up. I shudder at the thought. Team Peter Pan.) However, I have noticed that a part of growing up also means appreciating what you have, and this is something I can get on board with.
To show my dedication to this aspect of growing up, I wanted to share a list of 5 things I’ve taken for granted in the past. And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.
I remember getting into an argument with my dad a couple of years ago and apologizing for being more unpleasant to my family than I am around my friends. His response was that sometimes, we’re that way because we know that family will always be around. I couldn’t help but nod in agreement, but I also don’t understand why it has to be that way. Being lucky enough to grow up in a healthy family atmosphere is not something everyone experiences. Who am I to assume that everyone is lucky enough to be sassy to their parents? (Just kidding, I only sass lovingly. Can I move in again?) PS: Pets count as family, too. Hug them every chance you get. I mean, look at that face.
Bold move going from something as sentimental as family to the world wide web, I know, but allow me to explain. While the Internet is full of scary things and can also be a big black hole as far as time management, it also affords us the ability to do so much more than our predecessors. We live in a world where we can stay up to date (albeit sometimes superficially) with people we otherwise would have fallen out of touch with. Yes, this is a double edged sword because while I think I’d survive in a world without knowing what my middle school locker buddy had for dinner last night, I don’t think I’d like having to haul myself to the library (noun: a place set apart to contain books, periodicals, and other material for reading, viewing, listening, study, or reference, as a room, set of rooms, or building where books may be read or borrowed) each time I needed more information on something. Go go gadget Google! We have a wealth of knowledge available at our fingertips. Be thankful for that.
The ability to be physically active
This may be one of the largest and worst things I’ve found myself taking for granted, because my ability is only challenged when I’m injured. The process of working out is not one of my favorite things in the world (read: the best part is being done), but I’m more than aware that this is a necessary “evil.” Each time I find myself wanting to give up or kick off my gym shoes and plop on the couch with a large pizza, I remind myself that there are people who would kill for the ability to be red in the face, wobbly legged, and panting their brains out. I have two legs, two arms, and a functioning heart, and I have the nerve to complain about having to workout some days? How selfish of me.
Ah, what we love to hate the most: work. Another grown up life lesson is that work is not what it looks like in the movies, for better or for worse. The glitz and glam of a corporate job is much less glitzy and glammy in reality, and there are days where nine to five feels more like six to ten. But, we work to be able to (ideally) maintain the lifestyle we hope to have. Call it a necessary evil. Without my job, I wouldn’t be able to afford the experiences I’ve had, or this computer I’m typing on. Things like that make any frustrations that may arise seem much smaller. Plus, we live in a world where we can apply for a new job, or possibly even get poached on LinkedIn, thanks to that thing called the Internet.
21st century travel
You guys…the CTA, the Metra (really, any form of public transportation), and good old fashioned traffic jams can really get on my last nerve sometimes, but it beats having to take a horse and carriage everywhere – amiright? Jokes aside, we have the ability to travel with ease. You just have to be sure to take advantage of it. Sure, exotic trips and European locals are at the top of my list, but the reality is I’m not in a position to jet set every month (repeat after me: I will live within my means. I will live within my means. I will not by those shoes. I will live within my means.). I am, however, in a position to explore what’s nearby each month. Note that I made no mention of a focus on 21st century long distance travel, though that’s certainly a major plus. Thanks to the CTA system, I was able to get out of Chicago and explore Evanston over the weekend. It’s certainly not a vacation, but it was a welcome escape with pretty views, all for under $5 – who can complain about that?
Now, I’m no superhero, and there are certainly more than five things that I continually find myself taking for granted. Family, the Internet, the ability to be physically active, work and transportation just happen to be a few off of my (longer-than-it-should-be) list. What would you add?