Five Things I'm Thankful For - 2014

It's Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays of the year. It's a day when many people spend time with their families and reflect on the current state of their lives. As this is an American holiday, just about everyone celebrating this holiday should have many things he or she is grateful for. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'll share five things I'm grateful for.

1. Freedom

When I say freedom, I'm not just talking about the multitude of rights given to each and every American citizen. We should all be thankful for those, since we have what many people in other countries do not. I'm also talking about some specific freedoms available to me given my socioeconomic status. The freedom to pursue whatever activities I'd like, the freedom to spend a good amount of my time pursuing my passions because I don't have to worry about how I'm going to pay my bills, the freedom to essentially take a gap year before I start working (well, I graduated early partly for this reason), the freedom to travel, and much much more. These freedoms let me live very comfortably. I'm able to do the things I want, stress-free.

2. A strong belief in myself

I love learning. Usually, before one starts to learn something new, there are many internal obstacles that he or she encounters that ultimately affect whether or not he or she starts learning or saves it for another day (aka procrastinating). One of these obstacles usually is "am I capable of doing this?". For me, this question is pretty much always yes because I have a strong belief in myself. I think I can do a lot of things given enough time and effort, and this lowers the barrier to entry for many activites for me. I'm thankful for this because it has allowed me to try a lot of different activites and find things that I love doing.

3. Great role models

Throughout my life, I've had the good fortune of being surrounded by amazing people, many of whom have characteristics that I admire and that I try to emulate. I wouldn't be the person I am without having met all the amazing people I have had the fortune to interact with.

4. Family and friends

Having people who support you and care about you is extremely liberating. You know that when you need some help, you have people who will help you. I think people don't appreciate how important family and friends are because they're almost always present. I'm certainly guilty of this. But I list this here because this isn't something that everyone has. All of the homeless people out there are homeless pretty much because they don't have this set of family and friends who cares about them. You likely couldn't ever be homeless because your parents or friends would house you. Having a place to go to when you've hit rock bottom eliminates a lot of stress when shit hits the fan.

5. The millions of people who do things to make their communities better without expectation of anything in return.

Throughout your day, you'll likely hear about deaths, traffic accidents, the state of the US economy, etc. Overall, pretty negative stuff. Once in a while, you'll hear about people winning the Nobel Peace Price, large monetary donations to certain organizations, etc. That's great. But you usually don't hear about people going out of their ways, sacrificing some aspect of their lives (time, earning potential, safety, health, etc.) doing things to make other people's lives safer or more enjoyable. I'm talking about people who devote a part of their weekend to do community service, teachers who not only teach their students educational material but also life lessons, healthcare workers who've stayed up for the past 30 hours trying to save someone, park rangers, firefighters, policemen, librarians, volunteers, etc. These people go out of their ways to make people's lives better, but their efforts largely go unnoticed. And there may be times when their efforts to help others are not matched when they themselves need help. That's a shame. I hope that doesn't happen, but anyway, I appreciate these people and am thankful for them.

I have many things to be thankful for, but these are just five of them. I'm extremely fortunate to live so comfortably, and this motivates me to not get frustrated at some of my own difficulties and encourages me to do whatever I can to help others out.

Lastly, thanks for reading this, and if you haven't already, I encourage y'alls to take a little time and reflect on the things you're thankful for.

Have an awesome Thanksgiving break!