Practicing Gratitude

A reminder to reflect on things important to you

Se Kwon, Opinion Writer

Have you taken the time to appreciate the things in life and show gratitude? If not, you should.


In the beginning of the school year, I did a little presentation for my class on how important it is to start and end your day with gratitude. I also participated in a video project with one of my classmates on something very similar- we made a video on my journey and how important it is to not take things for granted. Recently, a classmate from one of my classes reached out to me and said how starting and ending her days with gratitude helped her significantly after she lost her dad. She told me that I had a huge impact on her life and that was the best compliment I have ever received, not to mention how rewarding this compliment felt.


On Oct. 28, 2016, I lost my mother to stage IV gallbladder cancer. It was about a six month process; I found out that my mom was diagnosed at the end of my sophomore year of high school and everything changed. I started to reflect on so many things, especially the memories I made with my mom. After months of trips to different hospitals, my mom’s battle unfortunately came to an end. Although I lost my best friend, I learned some of the most valuable life lessons.


When I was younger, I was guilty of being disrespectful to my parents, being unnecessarily moody towards them, and I acted ‘too cool for them.’ Don’t get me wrong, this is normal- it actually is a huge part of growing up. However, this is something I constantly beat myself up for after my mom passed away. I’d think about it everyday, cry about it alone in my room and never say a word about it. My friends back home know that I rarely brought up this topic because it was so incredibly difficult to express how I was feeling. I usually would fake a smile and act strong for my friends and family.


As I started opening up and journaling about my feelings more, I told myself that something good will come out of this. Something good did come out of it, I learned an important lesson that I will apply every day. The lesson is to start and end my day with gratitude and not take things in life for granted, I promise it sounds way easier than it actually is. Almost every day, I start my days laying in bed and think about the things I’m grateful for and if I have time, I’ll journal my thoughts. At the end of the day, I’ll journal about the things I’m grateful for and how my day went. I try to pay attention to the little things in life, which helps me not take things for granted. I can say that I still take many things in life for granted, again it’s a bad habit that everyone has but it’s different once you start noticing what you’re actually taking for granted.


So I guess to sum this all up, I’ve been starting and ending my days with gratitude, writing about all the things I’m grateful for and it’s been extremely eye-opening. This has helped one of my classmates and I’m hoping that this will help you too. It’s important to appreciate your loved ones but it’s also important to notice the little things and appreciate those too. So here’s my challenge to you, start and end your days with gratitude. Also, make sure you tell the special people in your life how much they mean to you, that’s a step in the right direction.