Be grateful for what you have

Analicia Haynes, Managing Editor

The other day I was driving to feed my latest guilty pleasure (a grande vanilla latte from Starbucks) and like many times, I found myself sulking in self-pity.

The latest complaint was the funny yet oh-so-stressful noise my car started making after I got the tire changed.

I tried to drown out the noise and shove it as far back in the back of my head as I possibly could.

I’ve noticed the best way to do this is by blasting the tunes until my eardrums burst.

My grandmother is staying with me for the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving.

She was in the car with me when the thoughts about all my bills and problems flourished through my already testy mind.

I thought about how fast my money goes, how I do not make enough money and how I can never buy what I want because of how fast the money disappears.

You know, the same old, same old.

But before I looked at my Nana and shared all my worries with her, I noticed an older man limping down the sidewalk.

He was bundled up, some plaid showing beneath his bulky jacket, and he was scruffy looking with his unshaven face and sad eyes.

I felt ashamed.

One because I assumed that a man who looked scruffy and dirty was homeless, and two, because I had the nerve to complain when my happy butt was driving in a cozy 2001 Acura, regardless of a rattling noise that rattles me from time to time.

This is not about that particular man.

It is about the fact that there are individuals out there who do not have time to complain about bills because they are too busy trying to find their next meal or bed to sleep in for the night.

I am no mind reader, but I am sure that at some point we have all complained about our own personal struggles and life problems, the ones that make it hard to smile all day long.

We do such a great job at making sure someone hears what we have to complain about that we forget to praise what we do have in our homes.

That includes those complaints, because at least we have something to complain about.

Is there a certain point when we become so selfish and ungrateful that we neglect to realize how lucky we are and then appreciate it?

Growing up, my siblings and I learned to thrive in adversity because we had no other choice.

Now all of sudden, since I make a little more than I used to and have a little more luxuries that before I could have only dreamed of, I take for granted the best things in life, like having a fridge full of food.

There comes a time when we should stop feeling sorry for ourselves and wanting the things we do not have and instead appreciate the things we do have, like a roof over our heads or clothes that fill our closets that we actually wash without having a second thought.

Also, since it is the holiday season, take the time to be thankful, grateful and happy about your lives.

There is so much more we can do in our lifetime to not only make our lives valuable but also make another person’s life worth living for one more day.

Volunteer at a food pantry, or donate clothing and food.

Lend a helping hand whenever you can because you can afford to.

When I was in high school, I used to hide my face and wear big bulky sweatshirts whenever I had to go with my mom to the food pantry because I was embarrassed.

But she always said that our visits were temporary and when I make enough money to buy whatever I want fresh and in a store, to give back to those food pantries because they made sure I had a meal every night and it was only right for me to make sure that someone else had a meal too.I wish I never lost sight of that.


Analicia Haynes is a junior journalism major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].