One of the wonderful things about being a twentysomething is that we are old enough to be able to look back and young enough to be able to look forward. But how often do we stop reminiscing about the past or worrying about the future and just be grateful for right now? Gratitude. In the midst of trying to keep up with work, piecing together an acceptable social life, spending time with family, and shutting out the world for those few blissful hours of sleep, it’s so easy to forget to just…pause. I read a quote recently that has really stuck with me. It said, “The world has enough beautiful mountains and meadows, spectacular skies and serene lakes. It has enough lush forests, flowered fields and sandy beaches. It has plenty of stars and the promise of a new sunrise and sunset every day. What the world needs more of is people to appreciate and enjoy it.” In other words, we have more than enough to be grateful for if we would only take the time to look around and see it.
Show of hands: how many of us know people who just seem to have their whole lives together?
They are a fellow twentysomething, but they have a great job, disposable income, and seem so freaking happy. Meanwhile, you’re ordering off the dollar menu (again) and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix because it’s free and what else is there to do on a Saturday night? It’s easy to wallow in those moments of self-doubt that we try to mask as envy. But the thing about it is…our lives are not all the same. Our journeys are not all the same. And even those people who seem blissfully happy and content with life have moments when they feel the same insecurity and self-doubt. So twentysomethings, STOP.
Stop comparing yourselves to other people. Stop wishing that you had more or looked better or ran faster. Stop telling yourself that you’re destined to live a life of inferiority. You’re not. Stop telling yourself that things won’t get better. They will. Stop racing around in circles trying to satisfy some unconscious need to prove yourself to people that you’ll eventually discover really don’t matter.
Gratitude is a concept that we sometimes make more complicated than it needs to be. We are consciously aware of it when we are the proud recipients of money or we land that dream job right out of college. But how often are we consciously aware of how grateful we should be to just wake up in the morning? Do we think to be grateful for food or shelter? Are we grateful for the parents that put up with our bullshit and always bail us out of trouble and the friends who share laughter, tears, and an abundance of alcohol? All of a sudden, our lives don’t seem so bad after all, right? We may not have everything that we want but we have SO MUCH to be grateful for, twentysomethings. Because guess what? Someone, somewhere, RIGHT NOW, is praying for just a fraction of what you have.
I recently started a gratitude journal and it has honestly changed my life. Each night before I go to bed I write down five things I’m grateful for from that day. It can be something as big as getting a raise at work or as small as having just enough money to buy my lunch. Whether my day was fantastic or one of the worst in recent memory, I can ALWAYS think of at least five things. Why? Because even when life feels like a colossal whirlwind of shit, there’s always something positive if I look hard enough. And so, my fabulous fellow twentysomethings, I challenge you to find the good in your world. You have a wonderful life ahead of you. Go live it.