On being more grateful

I’ve had an excellent week. I’m unwell, but it’s nothing 20,000 cups of tea can’t fix. I feel positively gloooowing. I guess that’s what a week away from work does for you. It’s impossible not to be happy in Britain’s tackiest seaside town. My week has consisted of the following activities: rollercoaster riding, circus watching, dungeon touring, nick-nack shopping, water parking and bingo. That’s a pretty stunning combination if you ask me.

I really needed this time off because I was so tired, and I don’t mean the sort of tired that is fixed with a quick nap. I mean the kind that is fixed with a week’s holiday and multiple English breakfasts. I’m happy to report I’ve had both, and now I’m eager to get back to my job and studies.

I’m feeling very grateful for what I have today. We all have our problems, but I think if you have a stable job, somewhere to live, and a decent support network then you’re doing better than most, and you should be grateful for it.

18-24 is a weird age bracket, because we’re all choosing different lifestyles and progressing in different ways. While some people are married with kids, others find themselves partying into the night daily. Many will have moved out, but many more will be completely dependent on their parents. Then there’s those that are homeless, in jail or dead.

We’re all heading in different directions and making our own decisions and that’s completely okay. I’m just doing my best not to compare myself to others, and to be grateful for progress and positivity where I find it. I don’t know if you ever feel frustrated by a (perceived) lack of progress, but I do. I often think about what I should be doing next to improve my life, because who wants to be the person that has nothing to say for themselves? Sometimes its good to remind yourself that there’s no rush, there’s plenty of time to work everything out. You can’t expect to have everything sorted out immediately. Even if you did, this will not necessarily make you happy.

A constant need for progression and achievement will help you to set your goals and smash them, but equally it will always crave for more. Sometimes a dash of gratefulness and patience is all you need to keep these status anxieties at bay and feel more content. I’m not a religious person at all, but I think Buddhist teachings about the nature of suffering are accurate enough: That the basic truth of the world is there is both physical and psychological suffering you have to deal with, but behind most suffering is useless cravings and desires. Therefore the solution is to learn to abandon them, and accept what you have for what it is. In other words: stop trying for happiness, and start trying for contentment.

Easier said than done, but I’m working on it.

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