At night, when you think about how you spent your day, how often do you focus on all the things you had to do?
I worked. I ran errands. I went to the gym. I made dinner.
And when you tell someone about this kind of day, how often do you do it with a less-than-enthused tone?
I suspect this is the norm for many of us, at least during the workweek.
Commitments, to work and family, can engulf our lives and seem like chores, not choices and chances.
I distinctly remember one day, years ago, when my day felt particularly packed, stopping to remind myself that I had chosen the schedule I was keeping.
I had chosen to get up early to write, to accept the job that supported me, to go to yoga in the evening, and to do laundry and other household tasks after that.
And I was fortunate to have had these choices to make.
These weren’t all things I had to do; these were things I got to do.
I got to devote time to my passion in the hours before my paid work, creating possibilities for my future.
I got to work a job that provided both pay and benefits, enabling me to take care of my needs, even if it wasn’t my dream career.
I got to stretch my healthy body and create mental stillness.
And I got to live in a comfortable apartment, filled with furniture and clothes I got to buy with money I got to earn.
And in between all these things I had consented to do were lots of other beautiful little things I got to do.
I got to wake up to sunlight coming through my window. I got to walk by interesting people, trees, and buildings on my way to work. I got to eat delicious food from various restaurants at lunch. And I got to use my hands when typing on my computer—hands I could have been born without, or could have lost to some type of injury or tragedy, but hadn’t.
I get to do a lot of things worth appreciating every day. We all do.
We all get to do things that challenge us, fulfill us, excite us, and energize us. We get to live, love, laugh, and explore in far too many ways too count.
Since I’ve long been inspired by this idea of focusing on what we get to do, I decided to include this as one of the prompts in my newly released gratitude journal.
I shared this prompt on Facebook this past Sunday to see how other people would respond. Over 1,500 people chimed in, creating a monumental list of blessings, many of which we all share but could easily take for granted.
Since I was inspired and touched by the list, I decided to share a selection of those responses here.
I Appreciate That Every Day I Get To…
1. Shelley White: Breathe. I received donor lungs nine years ago after my own lungs failed. I have Cystic Fibrosis. Just being able to wake every day knowing I can spend another day with my family is what makes me grateful to be alive. I appreciate life.
2. Kristi VanTassel McHugh: Wake up. I had open-heart surgery nearly two years ago, to replace a faulty aortic valve and repair an aortic aneurysm. When I was first diagnosed, I was told, “If it’s not fixed soon (the aneurysm) it will burst and you will die.” That was two days before Christmas, and I waited just over six months for my surgery. I am thankful to still be here, every day.
3. GusandMaggie Nosce: Be alive. I was born a congenital heart patient (blue baby) and was advised I would need a heart transplant by the time I was four years old. By the grace of God, I have never needed one, even though the open-heart surgery I received when I was days old is no longer in practice and is no longer advised to perform.
4.Manal Khatib: I appreciate that I can walk after a serious car accident eight months ago. Every day I had to relearn how to walk. This journey has made me appreciate my body and treat it with kindness.
5. Laina Amarantinis: Walk and stand. After three spine surgeries I am finally able to walk and stand more and more as the healing progresses. I am very thankful.
6. Mary Beth Hudson: Spend time with my family. I beat my battle with cancer; others in my family were not so lucky.
7. Linda Otto: Move my body. I can walk, run, lift, bend, etc., all with ease. This is not possible for many people. It can be taken away in an instant or gradually as we age. Your health, eyesight, hearing are never appreciated enough.
Friends and Family
8. Anna Hunt: Spend time with my daughter. Soon she will be off to college and I won’t have her close. Hearing her laughter, knowing she’s in the next room, fills my heart with warmth. I appreciate that every day I get to see her.
9. Amy Albinger: Be with my family. Be with my parents, my husband, my sister, and niece. They are the reason I live today. They are my reason to get through each struggle. They are my definition of love.
10. Riddhi Solanki: I appreciate that I get calls from my parents and friends, as my current job isn’t in my hometown. They call me and talk to me so I don’t feel more alone.
11. Niquita LeValdo: I wake up to my child. He was born with a heart condition and needed surgery at two months old. The thought that he may not have been alive today gives me a new perspective and helps me appreciate every moment. Love your children, praise them, cherish them.
12. Lillivette Colón: Keep my baby in my tummy one more day. Every day is victory.
13. Tezra Blake: I appreciate every day I get to see and hear both my sons growing into awesome men, and that they aren’t ashamed to say I love you mom and check on me and ask how I am doing. Despite their age they still want my opinion on things.
14. Laurel Hausafus: Have the memories of my sweetheart and husband in Heaven .
15. Cheryle Midgett: Spend another day with my ninety-four-year-old mom.
16. Anika Bruce: Every day I get to hug my family. I love hugs, they’re life changing.
17. Nicole Werner-Sayre: Stay at home to raise the tiny little human I created and help her grow up into a person I’ll be proud to add to the world.
18. Laurie Clemons: Give a hug and say I love you. We all need to hear it more.
19. Dawn Creason: I get to read and cuddle with the most precious little girl that I never thought I would have. I get to hear her giggle and I get to play with her.
20. Fiona James: Wake up happy and healthy with my wonderful family. Too many people don’t have that luxury.
Needs and Comforts
21. Elizabeth Sherriff: Have a roof over my head, fresh water, food, and a family around me.
22. Kathy Kellermann: Have a warm shower and a bed to climb into (especially in the middle of winter).
23. Jessica Grandelli: Eat food that nourishes and sustains my life. It is a privilege to live in a place with bountiful food.
24. Jacinta Harrington: Enjoy a cup of coffee while reading the newspaper.
25. Caroline Driver: Eat whatever I want and drink water straight out of the tap.
26. Marsha Frakes Waggoner: Walk outdoors in the grass with my dog and see trees.
27. Heather Demick: Drink in the world through my eyes.
28. Yvonne Hernandez: Have a place I call home.
29. Alice Louise Pocock: Listen with my ears, see with my eyes, and love with all my heart.
30. Xuandai Hoang: Sit in front of my candle and relax.
31. Enchari Rivadeneira: Dishes. It means I have food, a kitchen, a family to share with, and I did it. I made through another day, whatever happened. It’s a beautiful thing, dishes.
32. Chloe Cunningham Sarno: Finish all the housework all in the same day. Ah, clean house!!
33. Tammy Pillsbury: Lay my head down knowing I have a roof over my head, food to eat, a job that rewards me, a husband that loves me, friends and family whom I love, nature outside my door.
34. Michael Bell: Read. There is no aspect of life that I have derived more benefit and pleasure from, and I couldn’t imagine my life without it.
35. Danielle Yingling-Lowrey: Be with my babies, take care of my flowers, cook, drink coffee, be a friend, be a neighbor, be mama, be a daughter, be a wife, drive my car, take care of my house, giggle, laugh, read, smile at others…. so many things!
36. Nicola Wood: Wake up and just be me and appreciate how blessed I truly am!
37. Steve Kenney: Not feel the pain of starving, the pain of extreme thirst. Having a roof over my head, and AC. Having a few people who really care about me for me, not what I can do or give them. Not suffering from bad health. That’s it. Everything else is inconsequential.
38. Gena Pegg: I appreciate that every day I get another chance to do the right thing.
39. Bani San: I appreciate that every day I get to wake up in freedom and pursue whatever life I dream of.
40. Jayne Duncan Stites: I appreciate that every day I get to begin again anew!
41. Jim Zei: Have another opportunity to make things right—whatever right is.
42.Lechenda Crichton: Have one more chance to be better than I was yesterday.
43. Sherelle Myers: Use my body and working limbs for whatever I choose!
44. Angela Charlwood-Derbyshire: Practice making better choices.
45. Linda May Knowles: To learn from the mistakes I made the day before.
46. Wizz Tomo: I appreciate that every day I get to learn new things.
47. Ashley Glenn: To be alive and experience whatever the new day presents.
48. Amy Brock: Breathe and do normal activities of daily living. There was a time that I couldn’t do such a great job of either.
49. Herb Daum: I appreciate that every day I get to make the world a kinder place.
50. Melissa Milligan: Be here. Not everyone made it through the night. Be grateful you’re still here.
I appreciate that every day I get to…
How would you finish this sentence?
*This post was originally published in 2017. I decided to republish it again today for those who missed it because it’s fitting for the season!