26 Days of Thankful

26Days

Starting on November 1, I decided to write down one thing that I am thankful for each day. By Thanksgiving, I would have a list of 26 things that I am thankful for. I used my daily activities as inspiration and reflected on what I was thankful for before going to bed. One thing I learned from this whole experience is that I am so very privileged. I have a lot of things that many people my age around the world couldn’t imagine having. It’s easy to say you’re thankful for friends and family, but there are so many other things that we often overlook when counting our blessings. Here’s my list of the 26 things I am grateful for and the experiences I had to realize them.

  1. A warm bed to sleep in. It was daylight savings time and I got an extra hour of sleep.
  2. Lebanese culture and the fact that my family still practices it. At school, we had a Dia de los Muertos Celebration. Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday honoring the dead. Although I did not participate, I realized that I am grateful that my family still takes part in some of our own cultural practices.
  3. Care packages. I got one from my grandma. Care packages are awesome. They instantly make your day and show you that someone cares and is thinking about you.
  4. Laughter. Being able to laugh is such a gift if you really think about it. Not everyone has the time or energy to stop and have a genuine laugh. I’m not quite sure what I would do without some silliness once in a while.
  5. Medicine. Every day, I take prescription medicine as well as vitamin supplements. Not only is access to medicine a global issue, but it’s something that has historically been an issue. I am so blessed to be able to just go to the store, pick up my stuff, and be healthy for a reasonable price.
  6. New friends. Making new friends is really, really hard. But meeting people in college is such a different experience than in high school. I have met some really kind, genuine people in the last 3 months and I am extremely grateful for them.
  7. Old friends. I went home for the first time and got to see many of my old friends. It was nice to reconnect and I realized how much I truly did miss them.
  8. Home cooked meals. Again, I was home, and they have become a rarity these days. I am truly blessed to have such good cooks as parents.
  9. The availability of medical care. I visited the University Counseling Services for the first time. But I got to thinking about it, and these resources are things that a lot of people don’t have but could really use. I am so lucky to have something so readily available to me.
  10. Being privileged to volunteer with those who are not as privileged. Every Tuesday, I volunteer as a peer mentor for a 7th grade girl in one of the poorest parts of Cedar Rapids. I am so thankful that I have had this opportunity (and other volunteering opportunities as well) to give back to others.
  11. Good books and literacy. I stayed up until roughly 1 a.m. trying to finish a book for my literature class the next day. Although it was frustrating, I also realized how blessed I am to even have the ability to read and the availability of books to me.
  12. A support system. I called one of my good friends to talk about something that was bothering me. I am grateful to be surrounded with people who genuinely care.
  13. My safety. This was the day of the terrorist attacks in Lebanon and Paris, and a few days earlier, Russia. Words cannot even describe how thankful I am to be as safe as we are here in the United States. I think we often take that for granted.
  14. Family. I know, it’s cliché. But my parents came down to visit for the Minnesota/Iowa football game and it was really fun to see them.
  15. Good friends. One of my best friends also came down for the game. It was really great to see her and show her around my new home.
  16. My opportunity to receive an education at one of the top universities in the country. I registered for classes, and I just realized that not only am I grateful to be attending such a great school, but not many people my age are able to further their education like I am.
  17. My health. I had my first lacrosse practice today. I am blessed to have a body that works as it is supposed to.
  18. Good food. This is different than home cooked meals, although I would consider home cooked meals “good food” as well. By this, I mean fresh food, healthy options, etc.
  19. A home. I came home for Thanksgiving. I am truly grateful to have such a wonderful place to call home.
  20. High school and the connections I made there. I went and visited a few of my former teachers. Not many people made connections with their faculty and staff at their high school like I did, and I have truly met some wonderful adults in the last four years.
  21. The ability to learn from my mistakes. It seems as if the adults and mentors in my life are expecting me to slip up, but are ready to help me get back on my feet. I’m glad that I have the ability to screw up but learn what to do better next time.
  22. Freedom of speech. I can say whatever I want whenever I want. I can write what I want. I can have this blog! I am completely and 100% able to express myself without fear of punishment.
  23. Fresh air. I went for a walk. The air I breathe is (relatively) clean. I have access to so many outdoor spaces and activities. What more could I ask for?
  24. Shoes. This was a day where I had a hard time coming up with something that I was thankful for, and then I put on my shoes to go outside. I realized that there are people walking around as we speak in severe conditions (extreme cold, desert heat, etc.) without something as simple as shoes.
  25. An environment that encourages creativity. I grew up not only in an education system but a family that encouraged me to be creative. I have the ability to express myself in different ways and people who will encourage me to try new things and be different than the pack.
  26. Faith. I promise I’m not here to convert you or even share with you my religious beliefs. But I am grateful that I have a strong belief system and a resource for when I am seeking guidance.

I am writing this on the night of Thanksgiving, and I really am struggling to put into words my gratitude. I am so incredibly blessed and reflecting on that these last 26 days has really put some things into perspective for me. Right now, we begin the holiday season, where everyone seems to get so wrapped up in finding the best gifts (pun not intended, but I do appreciate my subconscious brilliance). We search for the best deals and ultimately forget about the holiday we just celebrated giving thanks for all that we already have. I hope that I am able to keep this attitude of giving thanks going for a while, as I have so much to be incredibly thankful for.

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