Taking our lives for granted

Lyndee Charles

I got a good taste of this about a week ago when the water was shut off in my house for two days. When the water first went off, I did not realize just how much going without water interrupts your daily routine. Stacks of dirty dishes went unwashed, showers were out of the question, hand-washing and teeth-brushing were not an option, and, worst of all, the toilets could not be used. I had to buy jugs of water, shower at my friend’s house, and use paper plates and plastic utensils for eating. It was frustrating, to say the least. After 48 hours of this, the water was finally turned back on and working again, and my seemingly dramatic weekend was over.

Looking back at this experience, I cannot help but think about how pathetic my attitude was. The water was only shut off for two days; I still had plenty of access to clean water nearby, in stores and at the houses of people I know. It was the convenience of having clean water directly in my home that I learned to appreciate. I am well aware that many people on the planet do not have access to clean water at all, much less in their own homes.  My experience was neither life-threatening nor life-altering. I am just glad to have learned a small lesson from it all.


How often do we take for granted the good things in our life? I’m not just talking about our clean water, houses, cars and other material things. I think we have a tendency to take people and opportunities for granted, as well. How often do you sit in class, in the middle of a long lecture on plant physiology or creative writing or whatever, and think to yourself, “I am getting a college education right now…that is so awesome!” I’m guessing this isn’t a common occurrence, which is sad, because getting a college education really is awesome. Not a lot of people in the world have that opportunity.

How often do you think about what your life would be like without your friends or family or whoever it is that means a lot to you? I know most of us have probably had the experience of losing someone we loved, and we understand the pain that comes with that. But have we allowed those losses to change our outlook on the people who are still here? Do we show them how much they mean to us, or do we accidentally slip back into the habit of taking them for granted?

Any time I log on to a social media site or walk through a crowd of people, I see and hear a fair share of complaints. People grumble about things not going their way, people who annoy them, bad weather, not-so-tasty food, a sports team losing, or the tedious amounts of homework they must complete. Negativity has a way of dominating our conversation and our thoughts, and to be honest, I am sick of it. Do truly bad things happen? Of course, but so many great things happen in our lives, too! Shouldn’t that be the focus of our dialog? I want to hear about what made you smile today. I want our conversation to be encouraging, not destructive.

Call me overly optimistic, but I believe we are all capable of changing the way we think, and can refuse to take the good things in our lives for granted. Taking on a purposefully positive attitude can completely turn your day around. Don’t start each day thinking the world is out to get you. Think, instead, about the things you get to do today that make you happy and the people you get to see today who make you smile. Are you still going to need a healthy vent session now and then? Probably. Just don’t ever underestimate the power of positive thinking.

If you are ever having a hard time coming up with something positive to ponder, I’d be happy to help. The beautiful Rocky Mountains are in our backyard. Our country is not in the middle of a civil war. Cam the Ram has really cool horns. 24-hour coffee shops do exist. Just look around you. Life is good.

Lyndee Charles is thankful to be able to shower in her own house again. Feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com


In brief:

  • Negativity can consume our lives if we let it.
  • Positive thinking is powerful.
  • Life is good!