The Orion

Gratitude should be practiced year-round

Getty Images photo by skynesher.

Getty Images

Getty Images photo by skynesher.

Rayanne Painter

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Thanksgiving may have come and gone, along with all the leftovers of mashed potatoes and apple pies but that doesn’t give us a free pass to stop being thankful.

In this world, we are owed nothing. No matter how put together we are or how much stability we have, all of our lives are subject to change. With this in mind, we should be thankful for anything we have, big or small.

I’m not proposing that all of these thoughts of thankfulness are Instagram worthy. For the most part, gratitude should be silently acknowledged or expressed to the direct subject.

Being thankful can start as small as being appreciative for having a place to call home, a fridge with some food and a warm bed to sleep in at night. For those of us who have those seemingly simplistic things, we often don’t think about them and truly appreciate what having that does for us. We, as those privileged humans, inherently have various struggles and problems as well but at the end of the day still have somewhere to belong.

Moving beyond that scope, having access to education is something widely accessible in the United States but also not thought about when “being thankful” is brought up. According to UNESCO in 2018, about 263 million children and youth worldwide are not in school. The reasons for these children not being able to get an education come in a plethora of issues, ranging from poverty, war and countries dictating which children can or can’t attend school based on gender. Education is a powerful tool and the perspectives and knowledge we build with it come with a lot of privilege which we are only guaranteed based on uncontrollable factors of our situations.

We need to be thinking about and acknowledging these gratitudes throughout the whole year and lives. I know it’s not realistic to check your privileges every day but taking time to reflect on what you have will take the chaos of life down a notch. When everything feels down in the dumps, most of us still have something to be thankful for.

The people in our lives are no exception to this. Many of our friends and family members have aided along the way to ensure that we have specific necessities and support along the way. Showing gratitude towards these important people can definitely look like an “I appreciate you” text message or phone call but so does acts of kindness and support in return. Be there for those who have helped you out, not just during the holidays, either.

Rayanne Painter can be reached at [email protected] or @rayphenomenon on Twitter.

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Gratitude should be practiced year-round