1. Being in relatively good health (even if there is always going to be room for improvement) and having a lot to look forward to in life.
2. Having one or all of your grandparents left, because so many people grow up without ever knowing what it is like to have them in their life.
3. Being able, through the internet and cellphones and other magical devices, to keep in touch with whomever we want at whatever time we want, from anywhere in the world. (Even if we don’t always use this to our fullest advantage and let people go for long periods of time without hearing about us.)
4. When you go to the beach and the sand is incredibly hot — almost too hot — just before you put your feet in the ocean to cool them off.
5. Low-maintenance friends who don’t require much from you other than you being caring and entirely yourself.
6. Friends whom you can go months or years without seeing, but with whom it always feels like you are picking up exactly where you left off.
7. Kind neighbors who will do things for you such as keep your spare key, or take in your mail when you’re out, or even babysit your pets.
8. The fact that travel is less expensive and more accessible than it has ever been, and you can even find people with whom to cross states and countries sharing only gas money.
9. That we live in a time at which, though there are still limits, we are more free to live and choose our paths as individuals than we have ever been in history.
10. That all of the music you have ever loved or could ever discover is literally at your fingertips, waiting to be listened to at any moment.
12. Learning about what is going on in other parts of world which used to be completely inaccessible to us in real time, through every medium from Twitter to international news organizations.
13. People with whom you vehemently disagree but always have a good, respectful debate that never feels personal or resentful.
14. The way it feels when the first few snowflakes start to fall and you aren’t sure at first if it’s actually snowing or you’ve just imagined it, until you realize that they are actually coming down quite quickly and you’d better get inside where it’s warm.
15. Having a warm, safe vantage point from which to watch the snow.
16. Having dozens of people pass by on our various social media to wish us a happy birthday and send us a few kind words, even if it seems like relatively little effort on their part. It’s always nice to be thought of, and to realize how many people you have touched in life, even briefly.
17. Seeing pictures of all of your friends growing up and changing and doing incredible things with their lives you would have never anticipated, if even from afar.
18. Fresh, hot donuts, and how easily accessible they are.
19. Places from your hometowns that stay the same, continue to be just as beautiful and welcoming, and always feel like you’re stepping right into your house when you go there.
20. The people you encounter throughout your day — from the energetic barista to the helpful person at the information desk — who take the extra moment to be kind, to smile, and to make you feel tended to.
21. Couch surfing.
22. Living in places which enable you to experience the best of all seasons, exactly as you want to see them, even if it means choosing somewhere which skips over winter or never gets that hot in the summer.
23. Hugs in the airport after an extended period of not seeing someone you love.
24. The fact that we are able to explore and falter in the pursuit of what we want — that no one way to do things is perfect or correct — and that we have never had more options for what our life could look some day like than right now.