I hope you had a great weekend! If you live in the USA, it was a holiday weekend – 4th of July, the USA’s independence day.
My weekend was filled with family and friends, food, and the amount of fun that may even make one feel guilty. 😉
Throughout this weekend, I had discussions with friends, and experiences that made us all think how grateful we are to be living the lives that we do. We are not crazy rich or have jobs that we love ALL the time or live close to our family. Heck, some of us are students on a budget, some are oceans away from our family, and some others are trying to make a career happen in the field of thier passion. So what is it that makes our lives so special?
1. Food and shelter:
Somehow a topic of homelessness came up. Every one of us had experienced seeing a person outside a store asking money for food or holding a board on an intersection in cold winter months or little children forced to beg by their families in need.
When you think about such experiences, you know how lucky you are just to have your basic needs fulfilled. I felt so grateful today when I went to a restaurant, ordered a ton of food, had delightful friends to share that with, and then was able to pack the left-overs for a meal tomorrow. When you don’t have to worry about your basic needs, you open up opportunities to think about your passions, your likes, your career, music, art, sharing, and much more.
So next time you have a meal, just take a moment to notice your good fortune. If your mind feels like it buy a dinner for a hungry person asking you for money outside a store, or donate that rarely used winter coat to a shelter in need. You may just be helping somebody get out of their cycle of misfortune.
2. Family and friends:
There is not enough money in this world that can buy you the company of people that are genuinely interested in your well-being. So when you find such well-wishers in your family and friends, wholeheartedly cherish their presence in your life.
Your loved ones are the reason you enjoy this life. At times, we forget that. We go after money, careers, a house, cars, buying things thinking that they are the reason for a happy life. But if you lose everything else, the people that will still be with you are the ones worth celebrating because they will be there to share your life with you.
On Saturday we were watching fireworks on the banks of the beautiful Charles river in Boston. Some people were watching it from their private boats in the river. But I bet you, that when the fireworks started, that spectacle was just as enjoyable for us as it was for somebody on their private boats.
I am not saying that comforts and hobbies are not important in life. They are. But only to a certain extent. What really matters is if you have people in your life with whom you can share those. So go after the people that will love you just as much when you cook them a simple meal at home or when you take them on a cruise in your own yacht.
When you live in countries that support freedom of an individual, it becomes very easy to forget the value of it. Be thankful if you can express your mind freely. Be thankful if you can hope that if you work hard enough your dreams will become a reality. Be thankful if you do not have to worry every night whether you will be alive the next day.
I have heard from some friends that they cannot use Facebook because they are afraid their boss will constantly watch what they say. I have heard a friend getting reprimanded for taking a 5 minute break from work to drink water. I have seen people justifying oppression under the name of natural selection.
All these happen way too often than I dare to accept. So when I look at my life, I just cannot help but be grateful for the freedom and independence I enjoy every day. If you, too, are one of the lucky ones, be mindful of making the most out of it. Exercise your right to vote, learn how to communicate your opinions while being respectful to those who disagree with it, and most of all, do not EVER use your freedom to snatch away somebody else’s.
See and treat every person that you come across as your equal. No less, no more. Spread the love and compassion for they deserve it as much as you do. It is that kind of equality that makes your freedom responsible. Be free, but also be responsible.
Finally, all I have to say about this weekend is that it was a great reminder of what really matters in life. What I see as my struggles, aren’t even struggles as compared to many less fortunate people on this earth. I cannot say this enough but all I feel today is the immense sense of gratitude for having the stable foundation in the life that allows me to think beyond basics.
Now your turn:
Take a moment today to be grateful for what you already have. Share in the comments one aspect of your life that you are really happy to have.
Here’s to building a life beyond basics.
Varun Kakde of Aperture Adventures for the featured image