[224] Taken for Granted

Most people who’ve known me for the last several years know that I have historically been one of the most pessimistic people they’ve met. I usually looked for the darkness and shunned anything relating to happiness. Though deep down, I longed to be happy, I could never find anything to achieve this.

One day, someone challenged me to think of five things that I was grateful for. Obviously, at that time, I could not think of a single thing, as my judgment was rather clouded, not seeing the forest for the trees. Over time, relying on my depression meds and other factors, my mood has dramatically improved over what is was a mere 2 years ago.

There are several simple things that I have taken for granted, and I’m sure most people do, as well. The first one is having a bed to sleep on. Many people don’t even have this luxury—they sleep on concrete or a broken down cardboard box. I have a decent bed that allows me to sleep comfortably.

The second thing I am thankful for is electricity. I have electric lights that illuminate my house and power or charge my electronic devices and appliances. I wouldn’t have my home air conditioner or fans without electricity. When the power fails, I become painfully aware of what life in the past, or in an Amish community, must have been like. Respectfully, I couldn’t do it—I’m too big a wimp for that.

Along with electric power is having my house. Though it is rented, it is still a roof over my head. Again, there are millions of homeless people in the world, and they have no protection from the elements. I can stay out of the rain, heat, cold, etc. Thank God I am able to pay my rent.

Remembering how antiquated technology was back in the 1970s and 80s, I am grateful for modern technology, despite their negative connotations and consequences. We have sleek laptops, tablets, internet and smartphones. A world of information is at our fingertips, and one little device in our pockets replaces the need for a myriad of other gadgets and reference books (such as TV, radio, music player [including cassettes and CDs], calculator, camcorder, typewriter, map, dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, tape recorder, VCR, telephone, walkie-talkies and speakers).

The last of this short list of this I have taken for granted is my senses. The five senses that many people have—taste, smell, sight, sound and touch. My eyesight is not optimal anymore, as I wear glasses (now bifocal, since my uncorrected vision is 20/200); and with the current pandemic, people are losing their senses of taste and smell, some temporarily, others more permanently. My daughter, for example, caught corona way back at the beginning of December 2020, along with me and the rest of the family. To this day, nearly 10 months later, she still has no sense of smell or taste. I can’t imagine what that must be like, to not be able to taste the flavors of food or smell wonderful aromas.

I indeed have much to be thankful for. When someone asks how I am, I’ve learned never to answer with superlatives, such as “couldn’t be better” or “couldn’t be worse”, as life can always go one way or the other. Things could always go south, and I could always be in a better position in life.

“We often take for granted they very things that most deserve our gratitude.”

Cynthia Ozick

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