gratitude52, Week 17: Taken for Grantedfeatured

gratitude52, Week 17: Taken for Granted {the ponytail diaries}

gratitude52 (because “52 Weeks of Gratitude” is too much of a mouthful) is a year-long challenge/series on, obviously, gratitude. Read more about the challenge here and all gratitude52 posts here.

They’ve been forecasting “showers” this week in San Diego. That meant we got, like, a tenth of an inch (if that) Wednesday morning and might get a barely-measureable fraction of an inch tonight. I think the meteorologists get so excited when the radar shows a tiny chance of rain that they overestimate how much will fall (or if it’ll fall at all).

Is clean, always-available water not something that every single one of us in developed nations takes for granted? Even going to certain parts of Mexico and having to buy and tote water bottles everywhere makes me so grateful to come home and drink straight from the tap without thinking about it (I was so relieved when we went to Cozumel and were assured the water on the island was safe to drink).

(I feel like I should put a GIF or video from the first SATC movie where Charlotte insists on eating those stupid pudding cups in Mexico here.)

I’ve been thinking about this one more and more lately, especially as the doomsday-drought predictions get more dire and intense.

I take for granted the fact that I will always have a roof over my head and really, a room of my own. If something awful happened, I’d have my parents’ house to go back to, or my grandparents’ or another relative’s.

I take for granted that being completely destitute isn’t option — I’m lucky enough that my family is financially comfortable enough that, short of a truly catastrophic natural disaster, I’d never be out on the street.

I didn’t take my college education for granted, but I think I took the opportunity to get it for granted. Growing up, going to college was never presented as an option, it was 100% what I would do after high school. It wasn’t an “if I get scholarships” or “if I work the whole time to pay for it” or “if I take out loans.” It was taken care of (and now I’m so, so incredibly grateful and neither I nor Husband are saddled with student loan debt).

I take for granted all the choices I get to make and all the decisions I don’t have to make. My life is a debate between “Should I buy the organic grass-fed ground beef or save a few bucks with the regular stuff?” or “Should I treat myself with a donut or cupcake?” or “iPhone 6 or one of the new Galaxy phones?” It could easily, but for luck of being born to upper-middle-class, college-educated, white parents, be “Should I buy groceries or pay my electricity this week?” or “Fix the car or pay rent?”

I take my health for granted. I take for granted that my family has been mostly free from serious health issues and scary diagnoses. I’ve lived in such a charmed bubble and I’m not definitely not appreciative enough of that.

I take my rights and privileges and as a US citizen and as a (white) woman for granted. I’ve started to pay more attention to that recently, but day to day? I just assume that I’ll always have the right to vote, that if I get pulled over I’ll be much more likely to get off with a warning than others, that if somehow I managed to get myself arrested I’d be given due process and a fair trial. I mean, just by virtue of being born in the US, I won the frickin’ jackpot. I won an even bigger jackpot by being born to my particular set of parents. I have strong feelings about income disparity in this country, and I was very much on the side of the “Occupy” protesters (when they didn’t, you know, burn stuff and start riots and whatever) a few years back, but good Lord, people, when you look at the world’s population, pretty much everyone in the US is in the 1%. (Maybe 5%? I don’t know. Math is hard. The point is, the absolute worse-off US citizen still has things a hell of a lot better than the vast majority of the world’s population.)

The point is, I definitely don’t acknowledge and appreciate and feel grateful for being so damn lucky enough.

Well. That one got heavy. To lighten the mood (because it’s Friday, after all), here’s a video of Hanson covering Taylor Swift from like 3 years ago. Enjoy!

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P.S. I totally forgot to mention earlier this week that my first piece for Founded Magazine is up here! Please go check it out if you’re so inclined, and check out the other pieces they’re publishing! I met one of the editors, Avery, at a Collaborative Thread event last month and she is awesome and I’m super excited to contribute + see where Founded goes.

  • I have taken a lot of things for granted. I forget that things are a privilege not a right.