When I was *a lot* younger, I had a very negative attitude. It got to the point where, every single time I uttered a complaint, my parents would make me stop wherever we were and list 3 things I was grateful for. Annoyed and trying to outsmart the system, I would just list the cliches – family, food, a house, etc. As you can expect, my parents became unsatisfied with that very quickly and would make me go deeper with my responses.
Flash forward to almost a year ago today, where I posted the original 7 Unconventional Things To Be Thankful For. A few months later, I embarked on my own gratitude journey and it has completely changed how I see the world (read the story here). Although it’s always great to show thanks for the typical things (family, friends, faith, pizza, etc), it’s just as important to recognize the positive aspects of things that are usually thought of as minor annoyances. If you can’t find some sort of appreciation for everything in life, well, then you’re just not getting all that you can out of it. Keep reading for 7 more unconventional things to be thankful for this season!
1. Low-Battery Notifications
Why on Earth would you ever be thankful for a dying phone or laptop? Well, how are you feeling just thinking about getting that warning message? Scared, mad, frantic, anxious, frustrated?
We are so, so dependent on technology. It’s our crutch, our distraction, our life. We spend so much time staring at a screen that we’re scared of the world that isn’t made up of pixels. Low batteries are our opportunity to step away, our chance to remember to put the screen down and live. Always be grateful for that little reminder.
2. Red Lights
I know, it’s frustrating. You’re running late for some meeting, so you challenge that yellow light and blow right through the intersection. Not only is that super dangerous (read all of what I learned about roadway safety here), but it is a powerful show of how we, well, speed through life. Red lights remind us to stop, to just sit and be (because you certainly shouldn’t be on your phone). They force us to slow down. And really, that time is something to be thankful for.
I truly believe that everything works out the way it is meant to be. Rejection may sting at first, but it is just one stop on the road to where you are supposed to be. Be thankful for the experience leading up to rejection, be thankful for the work you put into whatever you were going after, and, above all, be thankful for the strength and resilience you hold following any kind of let down. You are more than that and, like I said last year, be grateful for failure because it’s your time to grow and be the best that you can be.
4. Full Parking Lots
How many people purposefully park in the farthest parking spot there is? I know I don’t. So what do we do when we don’t get to park super close? We complain. And we walk. And we complain while we walk. Next time, be grateful for the steps that far spot provides for you. Enjoy your stroll to the store and take in the world around you. It’s even more opportunity to be the light in someone else’s life!
Rain is the music of the earth, a symbol of new beginnings, fresh starts, and wild growth. Don’t dread the rainy days or hate every second of walking to class or into work. Don’t hurry on your way with your head down and your hands in your pockets. Turn your face to the clouds. Spread out your arms and splash in the puddles and enjoy the softness the water brings the Earth. Just as a lot of people simply exist instead of living, a lot of people simply get wet instead of truly feeling. Be thankful for the opportunity to connect with the world and the most authentic sensation of being alive.
For most people, errands are just things that fill up a to-do list. But errands are great because they get you out of the house and into the community, into the world. Errands are the perfect opportunity to have time by yourself (reference numbers 2 and 4 above 😉 ), but they also give you the perfect opportunity to meet new people. As I wrote in last year’s post, be grateful for strangers. Some of the best conversations are with people you may never see again and you have no idea the impact that even just a friendly smile can leave on someone else. Be thankful for errands because they can be the reason something great happens to you today.
7. The Dark
I am not a night owl, like at all, and I hate that it gets so dark so early now, but I still remind myself that the dark gives us so much. Darkness blocks out the distractions of the world around us. It brings stillness and it reminds us to do the same. The darkness is the keeper of our secrets, it understands the version of ourselves that most people never see. Be grateful for the dark because it’s the perfect chance to really reflect on all of the great things in life. It’s as reliable as the sun rising, but shines in its own way. Be like the moon and unveil the beauty of the dark. In doing so, you’ll find an even greater, real inner beauty than you ever could have imagined.
“Gratitude is to happiness what words are to stories, what love is to marriage, and breath is to living” – Ken Wert
~What are you thankful for this year?