Thanksgiving is here. This US tradition has been accepted quite widely around the Western world and celebrated all the way in Japan. I do not celebrate Thanksgiving but I like the idea of it and every time it pops up in media, it makes me think;
What am I thankful for and why?
I’ve written about being grateful before, and because I wrote it so well back in the Spring, instead of rewriting it, I decided to re-post it. After all, the following on my blog has increased massively since last Spring, so most of you haven’t even seen the following post.
But here you go, my thoughts on gratefulness and appreciating the little things, and it all starts with one of my favourite quotes ever:
Yesterday is history
Tomorrow is a mystery
But today is a gift
That’s why they call it
“Amen, amen, AAAMEN! As an individual, who was born to the best circumstances anyone on this planet ever could, I have no right to be ungrateful. Yes, I complain about useless things like we all do and yes, I also have endured needless complications and difficulties unnecessarily much in my life.
But still I am aware of the fact that I am one of the most fortunate people of all the fortunate people alive. And because I live with that realization 24/7 I am thankful for a lot, all of the time!
But I gotta admit, it hasn’t always been the case. I had to go through a lot of hurdles, and to survive way too many problems that most people with my kind of background never need to, and to face innumerable complications especially professionally, that I never thought possible in a civilized, relatively equal country like Finland, before I learned to appreciate my circumstance.
No matter how much shit you go through, there’s always a silver lining and one day you, like I, realize that actually there was a point for all that struggling. I, for example, struggled as an adolescent. I was super-insecure, but extremely stubborn in my views and would not budge from those views for anyone. Not even for my own benefit. How I have managed to avoid proper fist fights all my life, I really don’t know.
But thank goodness for that lucky star that looked after me during those times when it would have been more than easy for me to fall into wrong crowds and go down a path that would have ruined me before I turned 25. Shout-out to my parents as well, there really is a valid point for setting boundaries for and being strict af with your children!
Putting it simply, I’ve been a bloody difficult person in the past. Reeeally nerve-racking. But thankfully I realized early on that part of it was the fact that I couldn’t be myself in the country I was born in to. So I moved away. I came back just to realize that Finland really isn’t the place for me, and I moved away again. And I have no plans of moving back there.
When you move away from home it’s already enough of a shock for the system. But when you move away from home, and your home country, you need to grow up and become independent immediately, the moment the plane is off the ground. Nobody’s there to tie up your shoelaces, to make your bed for you or to make sure you eat well enough after that.
You will have to learn to change that light-bulb yourself and to deal with all sorts of challenging situations on your own, such as dishonest landlords, racism, sexism, and how everyday life works in your new home town, etc., etc.
But that is exactly when you learn, when you really learn about life: what’s worth being stressed up about and what is not, who your real friends are, and most importantly, how strong you really are !
When summing up my life overall it really has been approximately 70% bad luck and 30% luck. But because most of my life hasn’t gone according to plan (at all!) the more I am able to appreciate the moments when things do go my way. Like the times when the tram arrives to the stop exactly when I do instead of leaving just seconds before I can make it in, which is what happens 90% of the time.
So, what am I thankful for this week? All the basic things obviously: the fact that I have a roof (a very nice roof in fact) on my head, food in my fridge, a monthly salary and of course friends and family in my life.
Since moving to Estonia I have also learned to value health much more than before because I have never been sick so often as I have been here. I blame it on the cold climate and the stress that this country has confined me in.
But even though I am not happy here, I am thankful for the fact that I can still cope. Quite well in fact! I get on with my life and concentrate on all the things I can do to improve my situation instead of burying myself in bed and becoming bitter af.”
Learning to appreciate the little things, as well as the big things, is what you need to do to be truly happy. Coming from a privileged background can blind us to all those little things that most people in the world would sell their arm for.
For me it took moving away from those privileges, and learning how much it really takes at the end of the day to cope on one’s own, before I became aware of all the things that I’ve taken for granted, but which actually are the source of my happiness, no matter what struggles I might be going through professionally or relationship-wise. Remembering that is everything to me.
Do you celebrate Thanksgiving? What are you particularly thankful for today? xx