While I was in Morocco, Africa last semester, I came across a girl who wasn't wearing the
long, loose, hooded robe that I'd seen other women wearing in the
streets. But come to think of it, it was the first girl I had actually
gotten the opportunity to talk to. We had been surrounded by men our
entire trip -- our guides, shop owners, hotel receptionists -- were all
I talked to her for about 30 minutes and couldn't help being stunned by the conversation afterwards. All she wanted was to fall in love with
someone who loved her, too. She wanted to get an education and make
something of herself. She wanted to travel. But all of it was
practically impossible. Her cultural traditions opposed it all.
And here I was, skipping a few days of school in Barcelona to visit Africa. Here I was, knowing I'd soon be back with my friends and family that would never oppose my ambition to better myself.
It's situations and experiences like these that have defined the word 'gratitude' for me. It goes back to my own family, my own parents, who
have worked so hard for their children to live a better life than they
did. And it's this gratefulness that has always made my life brighter,
exposing me to unimaginable opportunities.
We all hear it so often: you should be grateful for your family, friends, shelter, food, education, etc., but most of the time goes
directly over our heads. I think that there's just a point in life when a
person actually gets it. Maybe it's an unusual experience that
brings one to this realization, or perhaps it's a tragedy. But why wait
for a circumstance to make you realize this? Why wait to lose something
in order to appreciate it?
A lot of research proves that gratitude can make a difference in lifestyles. Dr. Charles Kerns, author of "Value-Centered Ethics" and professor at Pepperdine
University, has a brainy explanation
of why counting your blessings can be beneficial -- even at work.
Golden Mean Message: Gratitude goes a very long way; learn to genuinely appreciate your fortunate circumstances. Perhaps one day you'll even want to help change others' unfortunate situations.