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25 Awesome Things We Take for Granted Most Days

Joy

“It’s not a bad idea to occasionally spend a little time thinking about things you take for granted. Plain everyday things.” ~Evan Davis

Some mornings I open my eyes and immediately start thinking about everything I have to do. I don’t notice the sun shining through my blinds.

I don’t imagine all the things that could go right in my day, as Srinivas Rao suggested in the awesome guest post How to Wake up Every Morning on Top of the World.

Instead, I immediately hone in on my to-do list and all the mini fires I plan to avoid.

On those days when my mind goes into to defensive pessimism mode—conjuring up everything that could go wrong and creating plans to circumvent those things—it feels imperative to go on that way. Like the stressing and plotting somehow gives me more control over the day ahead.

The irony is that while this type of thinking does nothing to avoid chaos and struggle, which are both inevitable, at least on some level, it actually creates the type of situations I’d prefer to dodge.

A busy, cynical mind is more apt to find problems than solutions.

Since I’ve been meditating in the morning again, I’ve been starting the day on a much more positive note. But I am by no means perfect, and some days I still expect the worst instead of creating the best.

So I’ve started focusing on all the little things that usually go right instead of the big things that could go wrong.

The reality is things could go wrong later, even if I start the day whistling over breakfast while birds and bunnies hover around my patio bistro set. Being positive isn’t a safeguard against the unknown.

It is, however, one of the best ways to fully enjoy the moment and create the next one from a place of peace and empowerment.

With that in mind, I’ve created this list of things that we often take for granted (some or all of which may be true for you). When you start thinking about everything you can’t control, it’s helpful to remember and appreciate all the little things that work in your favor most days.

The little things that usually go right:

1. You woke up breathing. No matter what happens in the hours ahead, you can come back to your breath for a sense of peace and presence.

2. You have the freedom to choose what you’ll do today, even if you have some limitations. Sometimes we take it for granted, but what we do on a daily basis truly is our choice.

3. You had a bed to sleep in. Even if you didn’t get as much sleep as you’d like to, you had the opportunity to rest somewhere relatively peaceful.

4. There isn’t a hurricane, tornado, typhoon or other natural disaster going on outside your door.

5. You have the means to eat three meals today, even if one of them is Top Ramen (or spam and rice, as my boyfriend made on our first night in our new place).

6. Your roof isn’t leaking copious amounts of water directly on your head.

7. Your significant other is alive and healthy, albeit a loud snorer, an off-key shower singer, or a consistent maker of ridiculously strong coffee.

8. Your shower works—with hot water—meaning you don’t have to go to work with bed-head or skin that smells like night sweat.

9. If you don’t have work to go to, you have endless possibilities for your future. Right now might be a little uncomfortable, but your future is completely open, ready to be seized and enjoyed.

10. The sun is shining, giving you all those feel-good brain chemicals. (The sun actually increases serotonin production—it’s a natural mood lifter!)

11. You don’t have Wicked Witch of the West syndrome, meaning that if it’s raining, you likely won’t melt.

12. Your closet didn’t catch fire overnight, meaning you don’t have to go to work naked or fashion an outfit out of hefty bags.

13. Your iPod works, so you can listen to your favorite tunes during your commute.

14. If you don’t have an iPod, you probably have access to music somehow—radio, streaming music online, your mom’s old 8-tracks. Music is such a powerful mood lifter that we can access any time.

15. If you drive, your favorite morning radio show is on and it’s so funny you almost don’t care about the gridlock traffic.

16. As for that gridlock traffic, the fact that you’re in it means you have a working car.

17. Your computer works, meaning you won’t need IT guys to come help you, disrupting your usual flow.

18. You have a cell phone, even if it isn’t an iPhone, Droid, or Blackberry. (Mine is none of the above.) Even a bulky, old-school cell phone that can’t connect to the Internet can make life world’s easier.

19. You have an office or workspace, even if it’s shared, meaning you can get things done relatively efficiently allowing for free time later this evening.

20. If you’re like me and don’t have an office or workspace, you have the freedom to work wherever you want. Go work under a tree for a while—you can!

21. You received some type of email that lets you know someone cares about you, even if it’s one of those chain emails your grandmother sends to the special people in her life.

22. If you didn’t get one of those emails, you have the capacity to send one (mass-emailed or personalized) to make a meaningful difference in someone else’s day.

23. You got a call or voicemail from someone you miss, giving you the opportunity for connection and even a little shared nostalgia.

24. If you didn’t get that call, you have access to a phone, meaning you can make one. Any day you connect meaningfully with someone else has the potential to be a great day.

25. Someone somewhere loves you, so no matter what happens in the day ahead, you’ll get through it with the support of people who care.

There’s a lot that goes right on a daily basis. I’m choosing to start the day embracing the good in the present instead of trying to predict and control the bad in the future.

Have anything to add to the list?

Photo by TheAlieness GiselaGiardino

Avatar of Lori Deschene

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She is the author of the Tiny Wisdom eBook series (which includes one free eBook) and Tiny Buddha's Guide to Loving Yourself. She's also the co-founder of the eCourse Recreate Your Life Story: Change the Script and Be the HeroFollow @tinybuddha for inspiring posts and wisdom quotes.

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • http://twitter.com/Sam_Russell_ Sam Russell

    I’d like to add:

    Even though some days I feel like a complete dunce and my brain is hideously chaotic and noisy, I’m still able to engage with, and enjoy, some really complex writings. All I have to do is pick up the Kindle and I’m off!

    Bottom line: Feelings of stupidity and worthlessness can be disintegrated by our curiosity. Always.

    Excellent post Lori, thanks for sharing it and making me laugh my head off! I love the image of floating bunnies…

  • http://twitter.com/AlannahRose AlannahRose

    This has been a VERY tough year for me with lots of turmoil, drama, medical issues and huge life changes. It’s been a difficult task to try and focus on the positive through all the seemingly negative things that have happened, but at the darkest times I tried to make myself find one good thing within my current situation. Many of my good things are similar to the ones on your list… I have a car, I have a roof over my head, I have a job to go to and money coming in… and even when I felt truly alone in the midst of everything, I knew I had my best friend, my family and my therapist who all want the best for me and will help however they can, even if they’re not always “there”, per se.

    I am the kind of person who really likes to think of the worst case scenario for any situation, to “be prepared” for it. It is really hard to break that mindset… I know it doesn’t really do any good but I’ve been through some tough situations and am very self-protective. Sometimes it just feels too vulnerable to not always be ready for the worst. I’ve been reading the book “Feeling Good”, and it’s crazy how much negativity comes from our thought patterns and interpretations, and not even from what is actually happening in our lives. Trying to re-train my thought process has been very difficult but it makes a huge difference when I’m able to do it!

  • Rhemafig

    I get to wake my healthy kids up, navigate the chaos of the morning routine, and rush them to the public school (usually late) where they will be educated for free.

  • TheHoukCrew

    I wake up every morning next to my healthy best friend. He’s been in remission for 4 years and just his breathing makes me thankful.
    I also wake up in a home full of happy children. I know I can’t give them everything, but they are perfectly happy just being loved by us.

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  • Lc50

    I really understand AlannahRose. The last 5 years of my life has been the most difficult. At work I go from classroom to classroom all day long teaching reading and math groups. I try to keep everything in perspective with the thought that, “Each new classroom holds the possibility of an incredible experience with a student, even if the last experience was a dismal failure on my part. And I also get the added effect of “leaving my troubles behind” in the last classroom, to face all the possibilities in the next one!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Alannah,

    I’m the same way–I want to be prepared for the worst as a reminder than I can handle it. I’ve never read Feeling Good, but I’m intrigued. I still struggle with my thought processes here and there. The thing that helps me the most is meditation. And yoga, though meditation feels a little more accessible when my life gets busy.

    Thanks for reading and commenting! I hope your day went well and was relatively drama-free.

    Lori

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    That’s awesome. I’m so glad to hear your best friend is in remission. Now that’s something to always be grateful for =)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hey Sam~

    I know that feeling well! Some days my mind is hideously chaotic and noisy, as well. And yes, curiosity is a beautiful thing…

    Lori

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I really admire your attitude. Your students are lucky to have you!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Free education–that’s one I think a lot of us take for granted. Celestine Chua mentioned that in her guest post, 60 Things to be Grateful for in Life. I find when I notice those things that I take for granted, suddenly my life feels fuller.

    Thanks for reading and commenting =)

  • Tee Fimmano

    I came upon this awareness 10 years ago after I became disabled from Rheumatoid Arthritis. It changed my whole life, and I had to start all over from taking things for granted to being grateful for what I could do. Breathing is a big one for me, as is being able to feed myself, see and hear. Everything else has been compromised. Be SO grateful for what you CAN do, because it can change in the blink of an eye. Thank you Lori!!

  • http://whollyafool.wordpress.com/ Michelle

    I love this post :) I would add – I get to wake up most mornings and head off to college classes, even if I’m exhausted and haven’t done all the work that needed to be done. I am HUGELY blessed in being able to attend college on scholarships and in having supportive parents who have helped me out so that I don’t need to work full-time on top of a course load.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Thank YOU Tee for sharing your story. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the impermanence of a lot of things I take for granted. For me, it’s most evident with my relationships–I’ll look at my boyfriend or hear from my mother and remember they won’t always be there. I sometimes take for granted my mobility and ability to take care of myself. Thanks for reminding me to remember and appreciate those things!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    That’s awesome Michelle. Congrats on the scholarship. That’s quite an accomplishment =)

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  • Aboeri11

    I created a video with this related subject http://vimeo.com/27358454

  • Cinco

    How do I subscribe? Please contact me @ Cinco128@gmail.com