Although I regard myself as a positive thinker overall, I tend to be very self-critical of my failures and inabilities to meet my goals and high expectations. I often structure my life around a list of “shoulds” that serves as rules for how my life should be led or how a situation should go, and consequently, robbing me of personal satisfaction. Instead of discussing further about my self-defeating thought and behavioural patterns, I am going to dedicate this article to 17 things I am grateful about in my life. After all, it is the holidays–a time to reflect on the past year and to appreciate all that we may have taken for granted in the hustle and bustle of life (not that we should not be doing that throughout the year).
17 things I am grateful about in my life (not an exhaustive list)
1) Living in B.C., a province with the mildest climate in Canada and that I can experience my two favourite seasons every year: summer and winter
2) The privilege to breathe in fairly clean, non-polluted air every day
3) Living in a country with a relatively democratic government. (Okay, we know that much work still needs to be done to live up to the so-called democratic framework that Canada goes by, especially since we are ruled under a conservative political party. However, compared to many other countries, we do get to enjoy certain privileges that parliamentary democracy provides.)
4) Having the opportunity and privilege to attend post-secondary/higher education (knowledge = power + wealth + health, right?)
5) Having a mother that understands my busy study schedule and does not interfere with my private space (i.e., in my room and ‘office’), not to mention all the things she has done for the family (e.g., cooking, cleaning, driving, etc.)
6) Having a brother, who, although has frequent fights with me, listens to my personal problems (sometimes with reluctance) and has become my mentor; he is also someone I can have intellectual, meaningful conversations with about important topics such as social issues and injustices.
7) Having a father who had financially established himself at an early age (despite having a substandard education) and still works to provide for my brother and I with the luxuries we often take for granted
8) Having cousins who live only around 30 minutes away and who I have shared laughs, tears, and many memories with (I love them dearly!)
9) Having friends (some of whom I have known since high school) who I can trust, confide in, and have had many fond memories with
10) Having the chance to travel and to see the world in a new light with unforgettable people
11) Having professors and TAs (teacher assistants) who care about my learning and provide support when I need it and make my learning experience more enjoyable
12) Having the opportunity to participate in the UBC Arts Co-op Program to gain some work experience in my undergraduate studies. Also, knowing that there are employers who value and give students an opportunity to showcase their experiences, knowledge, perspectives, and skills in the real work world.
13) Landing a Co-op job for winter and summer ’12 (January to August) after only applying to 5 jobs this fall (according to the Co-op office, the average applicant is expected to apply for 30 jobs before getting a placement).
14) That I have had fairly good course schedules and have enjoyed and been intellectually engaged in my courses.
15) Living in a comfortable home with convenient access to transportation (the Canada Line and the 41/43 bus), the gym (YMCA), food, and shopping (albeit most of which are high-end stores), and only a 30- to 40-minute commute to UBC
16) That if I ever need someone to talk to or listen to my problems, it is only a phone call away
17) That I have met people in the past and present—my high school counselor, tutors, teachers, mentors, friends, acquaintances, students, etc.—that have left a mark on my life and passed on their wisdom
There we have it! 17 simple but often overlooked things in my life that I am very thankful for having the privilege to enjoy. What are you grateful about in your life?