When I really think about it, I’ve never “wanted” for anything in my life. Sure, I’ve desired to have luxuries; I’ve asked for new clothes, shoes, an iPad, and numerous other things in my life. I think we all have. We always want something new, and it needs to be bigger and better than whatever we had before. The day I upgraded from a basic sliding phone to the iPhone was monumental- but was it really?
See, it’s funny when we really start putting things into perspective. I’ve always known that I live a somewhat privileged life, yet I always seem to want something more. However, I’ve never “wanted” for the necessities in my life. I never went without food. I never worried about a lack of drinking water. I have always had clothes that fit and were comfortable. Electricity, heat, and shelter have always been a part of my life; I have never truly felt the pang of want. I am thankful for that.
Looking at the world around us, it becomes clear that this isn’t the case for everyone. The things we see as everyday necessities are luxuries for some. Many live in shacks that have holes in the floor and no AC or heat. There are children across the world that die from malnutrition daily. There are many that go without clean drinking water. Children and adults go without proper clothing because they simply can’t afford it. I have never truly felt that; I have been blessed to live the way that I have. I may not drive a brand new car, but I drive a reliable one that gets me places safely. I don’t have brand new clothes, but I have a closet bursting with hundreds of pieces of clothing, even if some were hand-me-downs.
I think realizing how truly blessed we are with these necessities is important. Many of us take these things for granted, feeling as though it’s almost a right instead of a privilege. This is far removed from the truth. So, I’ve dedicated today to being thankful for the necessities that some must go without. I am thankful for:
- Clean water
- Edith (my car)
- Houses with sturdy foundations that have no holes in the floors
- Food- the excessive amount we have even when we say there is “nothing to eat” in the house
- Vaccinations that keep me healthy
- Phones & the various lines of communication
- Walls that protect me from bugs that carry disease (please check this link out; the prevalence of malaria in other countries is a horrid truth)
- Street lights & traffic rules
- Shoes to walk in
- Clothing for all seasons
- Pharmacies & modern medicine- it’s literally a hop, skip, & jump to the nearest hospital if anything ever happened
- Our judicial system- it protects us and (hopefully) upholds our laws
- Our employment market
- Education- something definitely taken for granted by many, but a necessity for all
- Sanitation systems- take a look back in history; things didn’t go so well for countries without this.
- Clean air
- Feminine hygiene products
- A bed- not a floor- to sleep on
- Military, police, firefighters, EMTs, etc.- these people are so integral to our society, and I like knowing that if the time every unfortunately came that I needed help, I could call them unhesitatingly.
I know that I’m probably missing quite a few, so once again this list is not exhaustive. Living in a First World Country is a privilege, and we need to remember this. We also must take our knowledge of what living in other countries feels like and try to make a change.
Imagine what one day without any of the above amenities would look like. Envision it. What would change? How would your actions differ? Be thankful. Show your gratefulness.