Be grateful for what you have

The school year is winding down once again, and everyone seems to be in a panic about something. Finals are coming up for every grade level, projects are due in many upper-level courses, seniors are worried about where their journey will bring them and criminal justice majors have more than the usual mountain of work on their plates. This is when people buckle down and don’t look back-do or die time, if you will. There’s no time to stop and enjoy the finally-warming Vermont air or the finally-blooming Vermont flowers.

Everyone seems to think he or she is the person with absolutely the most on his plate. No one could possibly have to do more than the seniors with their projects, or the CJ majors with their reports, or the freshmen with their drinking and partying.

I’m going to take a step back and tell a story.

This spring break, a fellow writer for The Spartan was enjoying time with friends and returned home to find half of her house engulfed in flames. There was no warning, and within minutes her house became unlivable and one of her beloved pets died.

That may seem random and disconnected, but you have to see experiences like that and think to yourself about how truly lucky you are to have everything you do have. Another example comes from a book I read this semester, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

It chronicles the life of a man who suffers from what is called “locked-in syndrome,” which is a horrendous case of being fully aware and conscious but being completely paralyzed. The author of the book was fortunate enough to still be able to blink his left eye, and after devising a method of communication, used that one device to write a memoir.

After reading that, I’ve found myself stopping while walking places to think about how lucky I am to be able to walk. We take for granted such simple everyday things as being able to run at the gym, drive to the mall, breathe through our noses, hear flawlessly, and have a roof over our heads to return to at night.

And never is it more apparent than this time of year.

I don’t want anyone to think that I’m belittling anyone’s situations. There’s not a doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be a happy camper if I had four portfolios and a project to do for five different classes in a week.

I’m not saying stop your life to have a Zen moment. What I am saying is that, when your life gets thrown into high gear, appreciate the ability to keep up with it, because you never know when the rug could get pulled out from under you. Then, even in a worst-case scenario, you could at least say you have no regrets.

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