How to Be Grateful When You're Only Human

Kate Feathers

It’s not easy.

Handling my moods, making sure the plants don’t die, playing the waiting game amidst global pandemic, standing on a planet that spins and spins, and you’re so small you can’t even feel it.

It’s not easy, being me. Being you. Living a life as a human, caring for others, doing your best and somehow still failing in small incomplete ways.

Sometimes your life is a never-ending cycle of washing the dishes, chewing food, waking up with tired eyes, boiling your coffee as if it could save you.

The world is throwing responsibilities at you while letting you know that you don’t matter one bit at the same time. Words collide somewhere far away in the darkness of the infinite void, and you’re thinking about that homework you don’t want to write and that bin bag you wish you didn’t have to take out.

Your dog licks your hand, and it feels euphoric because you know at least someone cares about you enough to try out what your skin tastes like. Although the dog is probably just hungry, and you’re a means to an end. It’s the pet’s duty to love you.

Your duty is to be nice enough to end up being loved, while also respecting yourself, a task that’s so difficult to tick off your to-do list that you just want to scream. Silently. Scream silently. You don’t want to make a scene, remember?

Your parents are the judges inside your head, and you internalize their nonsense for so long that it almost feels logical rather than toxic.

Your life is a disco-ball that howls you matter you don’t matter you matter you don’t matter this matters that doesn’t matter you’re matter and one day you’ll be anti-matter, flowing in the emptiness of non-existence, thinking of that one time you jay-walked and nobody noticed and you got goosebumps on your spine from the thrill of breaking rules, only to abide by thousands more of them later on. Something along those lines.

Your future is a rom-com with bright colors and amazing outfits, let alone the self-confidence with which you walk as if you owned the house. Because you do. In the future, you own everything you want. You know how to deal with your feelings, insecurities and traumas.

You know how to cope with boredom, conflicts and the constant urge to run away from things as soon as they turn a little sour.

Your future is perfect. Which is why it’s an illusion. The present moment always catches up, turning the sparkling white into a darker shade of gray, making your perfect husband someone who sometimes forgets to pick up the milk from the store, transforming that wonderful moment where you’re watching your children play in your backyard to the one where they scream at you in anger because you aren’t perfect, either, and you’ll never be.

Finding happiness in the sludge of life is a quest you dream of, a quest you try to go on while stumbling on hundreds of regrets and anxious feelings of anticipation, a quest you wish you could finish – but deep down, you know you can’t.

It’s impossible. Happiness is fleeting.

But flowers still bloom, birds still fly, and people still laugh, no matter how dark the times are. Your heart is beating.

Gratitude lies in the obvious. Reading a book, drinking a cup of tea, being able to fall asleep next to the person you love.

Life is complex, life is cruel, life is kind. Life happens when the horrid blends into the heavenly – when people die and are born simultaneously, like a melody that makes you cry happy tears or smile a sad smile, mourning the ending and anticipating the beginning.

Gratitude is when the sun comes up. It’s when the sun comes back down. It’s when you know you still have time, you still have tomorrow, you still have a chance to be grateful every step of the way. Or every step you catch your breath amidst the business of life.

Gratitude is when you close your eyes, take a deep breath, inhale the smell of the whole world and whisper, “Thank you.”

Photo Credit: 3Motional Studio on Pexels

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I'm a student of Languages & Comparative Literature who writes about relationships, feminism and personal growth. Discover more of my work:


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