Here are some things that I personally am (very) grateful for:
- My parents (and by extension myself) are comfortably enough off.
- I live in a peaceful (within itself, ha) democracy with free health care and education and a welfare state
- I got good grades and am going to a good university.
- I have friends and family whom I love.
- I'm in good mental and physical health.
- I have a long (though rapidly decreasing) summer to read and relax and enjoy the nice (if muggy) weather with my friends (if I actually motivate myself into organisation, which seems unlikely)
- I am only 66 days away from starting a university course for which I will become £54,000+ in debt. How is this a positive? Well, I will get the pleasure of moaning about being £54,000+ in debt whilst knowing that until (in the, most likely, distance future) I start earning £21,000+, I won't have to pay any of it back and it's highly unlikely I'll ever pay it all back...So hoorah! The best of both worlds...(The making students paying £9,000 a year is really paying off there, isn't it Government? Don't even get me started on the fact the maintenance costs are a more immediate factor in whether university is affordable)
- For university I'm moving to London, the biggest, scariest, most expensive place I'll have ever lived, as well the most exciting, diverse and unique. This also affords me the right to moan about housing costs to anyone who will listen. Who says the ability to moan shouldn't make you happy?
- Going to university means I have an excuse to buy things I quite frankly know I don't need but can guilt my parents into believing I do - "Oh but everyone will have their own chopping board. People will hate me if I keep borrowing theirs" "How can I study properly if I don't have coordinated stationery?" "Doing laundry will be really expensive so I'll need this extra pair of jeans" etc.
- Doctor Who is back soon and who doesn't like watching it with the blind optimism this series will be better than the last only to be bitterly disappointed every time?
In all seriousness, though, despite the possible appearances of this ramble of a post (yeah, sorry), I am really quite content with my life and situation. Not content enough to sit still and do nothing but secure and grateful in the knowledge I have all I need and more and am likely fairly spoiled because that fact.
Can I ever be too grateful for that?
Hopefully one day far more of the world will be able to say they are grateful for, can take for granted even, free education, healthcare and peace and the opportunity this affords them to do more with their life than just survive it.
Can we ever stop trying to make that happen?
Having these things gives me the chance, the responsibility perhaps, to go out and do with life what I can, and do that to the absolute fullest. It isn't always easy to be positive in life, whatever your situation, and people who should seemingly be content with their lot can and do have very valid reasons for not being.
For me, right now, however, whilst I'm still lucky enough to have my health and my youthful optimism, I feel I owe it to the world to be as positive and life-grabbing as I can be. By George, it'll be one hell of a ride!**
Oh lordy, I hope this won't turn into a blog of lists and rambles...
**If 'one hell of a ride' means lots of reading, kittens, homemade Viking costumes, food, rum, fruitless attempts to right the world, and a whole load of weirdness.
*[Of course there are things to not be contented with in my country (and the world more generally). True equality is still not really (definitely not) here. Minorities of any/every description are still seen as a threat by certain people in society and people are made to feel badly because of it. There is a huge disparity between what people of lower income and higher income backgrounds earn and achieve academically (on average). There aren't enough people talking about mental illness, disability and (real) sex in public (not suggesting these things are related other than that they're 'taboo') etc. etc.]