Let's face it, Mondays are hard. We're tired, we're unmotivated and we have a long week ahead of us. But Mondays also symbolize a fresh start. They are the perfect day of the week to get inspired, be thankful and begin working towards a new goal. So in the spirit of empowering you to take action towards becoming the person you want to be - whether it's going to the gym more often, hosting a dinner party or sailing a boat in Greece - we share some of the simple things that instill us with a warm sense of gratitude. Happy Monday!
1. Air in our lungs
Whether we are in perfect health, have the flu, a bad back, or even a serious illness, we are better off than so many others simply because we have breath in our lungs. So many others no longer experience this little luxury.
The beauty in nature is everywhere - the smell of flowers, the chirp of a bird, tree branches blowing in the wind. Whether we live in the city or the countryside, few things have the rejuvenating powers of the great outdoors.
3. Plumbing + electricity
We take these basic amenities for granted. But for so many people around the world, the basic infrastructure in our homes is a luxury that they have never known. A flushing toilet, running water, a microwave, a vacuum. Anyone who has ever spent a few days camping in the woods or living in a remote environment can relate to the feeling of ecstasy that comes with finally sitting down on a toilet seat or turning the lights on when it gets dark outside.
4. A full belly
Sure we get hungry around lunchtime. Sometimes we have to wait a few hours to grab a bite to eat on the go. But how many of us have genuinely experienced true hunger? Our guess is that this is actually a very different sensation than anything the majority of us have had to deal with in our comfortable, first world lives. While we are having the mid-afternoon munchies, others are debating what time to eat their one meal of the day. So next time we're stuck in that long supermarket line up, let's channel our impatience into happiness for all of the yummy foods we are so lucky to be bringing home.
For many of us Facebook is mainly a massive time-waster. However, despite it's flaws, Facebook allows us to connect and stay in touch with our friends, family and colleagues from all over the world. How many people would we actually keep in touch with if we had to write letters or emails? Thanks to Facebook, not only do we stay in touch with our friend in China, we actually meet up with them when we stopover in Beijing. We are able to check on the safety of our friends abroad after a natural disaster.
But most importantly, Facebook has become a source of information and a means of communication for millions of people living in more isolated, poor or underdeveloped communities. A young girl in India can send a message to a boy in her class without the entire village gossiping about her "indiscretion". Or a student in Kenya can use his mobile phone to watch trending news and entertainment from Europe. Social Media not only makes our world a much smaller place, but it also opens up the world to so many people who had previously been cut off.
Today we have chemotherapy, dialysis, open heart surgery and transplants. And on the more basic level, we have those everyday things that we rely so heavily upon - such as Tylenol, tampons, antibiotics and birth control. We may not need medicine all the time, but we are sure glad to have it as soon as we get sick. We are able to avoid so much pain, suffering and discomfort thanks to the many medical advances over the past 100 years.
7. Freedom + opportunity
One of the biggest luxuries that often goes unnoticed is choice. From a young age we are asked questions like: What do you want to be when you go grow up? What are you going to study in university? Where do you want to live? Do you want to get married and have kids? Yet so many people do not have the freedom to make these decisions for themselves. Nor do many have the opportunity to go after their dreams. Women are forced into teenage marriages. Men work like slaves, not even earning enough to feeds their families properly. Parents cannot afford medical attention or to send their children to school. So let's remember how lucky we are to have the freedom to choose in the first place.
8. Friends + family
Some of us have big families, some keep a small group of close friends. Some of us are very close with our moms and some of us enjoy a great circle of friends from school. Maybe we have been lucky enough to find a partner or start a family. Or perhaps we have a pet that adores us. Whoever our loved ones may be, let us be thankful for the special moments they bring us and for the love they share.
9. Our mistakes
If life were perfect, without any challenges or pitfalls, would we appreciate the good times? How would we ever grow? Could we improve? Making mistakes in life, whether insignificant or major, can be so hard in the moment. But looking back they make us who we are. They build character, drive us to do better, and teach us important lessons. They may not always have been the best of times, but they have made the best times so much better!
10. Hot Showers
Is there anything more enjoyable than standing under a hot, steamy shower? This is another simple thing that many of us take for granted. Yet much of the world still cleans themselves with a cold bucket of water outside or with a quick scrub in a polluted river. We are so lucky!