This previous weekend, I attended a religious retreat with many people in my grade in preparation for my upcoming Confirmation. Even though I left the retreat with a better understanding of my faith, I also left with ways to deal with the craziness of the world and life. One huge aspect of this understanding was the importance of gratitude, and it really stuck with me.
Today it struck me that I have exactly one month until semester one exams. This fact along with the other responsibilities on my mind shocked and stressed me. I have to apply for a job, shop for the holidays, finish homework, paper, and projects.. etc, etc, etc. I’m sure many of you can relate.
As life continues to grow more stressful and busy, it becomes common to focus on the stress rather than ways to relieve it. Instead of being grateful for the exceptional education that I receive, I grow to resent it. I shy away from my family and retire to my room as soon as I get home from school in order to work on whatever I need to get done. This routine becomes an endless cycle, and I recognize it but never change my ways.
However, on this retreat it suddenly occurred to me that I only have a year and a half left of high school. A year and a half until I move away to college. A year and a half until I will not see my family and friends on a daily basis. Instead of focusing on just myself, I should take time to sit back and realize all of the blessings in my life.
We were told to write two or more letters of gratitude to important people in our lives. My first instinct was to write letters to my parents, and I did, but my mind suddenly gave me an endless list of people who I should be grateful for. My friends who help me through everything, my swim coach, my teachers, and my little siblings were just some examples. I could have written these letters forever.
The feeling of completing a letter and imagining the response of the receiver is insanely satisfying.
So, what’s the point of this post? I could have just written this in my journal and kept it to myself. But no, I want to challenge anyone reading this to wake up every morning or go to sleep and think of on person or thing that they are grateful for. I promise you, it makes your day a little bit brighter, and a little less stressful. Once you recognize a certain blessing in your life, the rest of life seems a little more bearable.
One more thing. One day soon, write a letter or someone who you are grateful for. I promise the feeling you get from writing it, and the receivers excitement they get from reading it makes it completely worth it.