2. And speaking of the Internet, simply having access to it, if not your own personal WiFi network. It allows us to connect with like-minded people, to see pictures of adorable animals, and to keep in touch with anyone we’d ever want to keep in touch with. You can have a voice here, you can have a TV show, you can do anything you want, and millions of people never have access more than once or twice in their lives — if that.
3. Being able to move nearly wherever you want in the world if you’re simply itching for a change. Chances are good there will always be another job, another apartment, another life waiting for you if you want to go. Not everyone is so untethered.
4. Calling your parents, or texting your brother, or Snapchatting your best friend. It’s humbling to remember that something we now view as a necessity — when was the last time you felt like you honestly didn’t need your phone — was once a souped up, pricey version of something that performed the same basic functions for a lot less money.
5. That morning coffee. The ubiquitous pick me up that we can’t live without. What would you do if you couldn’t have your daily fix?
6. The friend you call up when anything goes awry. The friend who emails you funny pictures of cats. The friend who is always down to try the newest burger joint. Whoever it is you turn to for any one thing, thank them the next time you see them.
7. Your gym membership — or even if you can hop on your bike or lace up your sneakers and get some exercise while feeling safe in your neighborhood, you live in a good place. Treasure that.
8. All those memories of good Christmas presents, or wonderful family vacations. The next time you can, pore through those family albums. Harness the childlike joy preserved there and put it forward to the rest of your life.
9. Seeing the world because you decided to buy a plane ticket. (After all, the concept of commercial air travel is only 100 years old, a pin drop in the history of humanity.)
10. The love you sometimes forget you have around you. Just because it’s not wrapped up in roses and teddy bears with bows doesn’t mean it’s not there. The love between friends, the love between family, and the love between pets and their owners is just as comforting, and just as nourishing as any kind of romantic love.
11. That said, pets — for all the love they give, they are an extra expense, and between the vet fees, food, toys, and time spent caring for them, aren’t always that cheap. Taking on that responsibility is almost always worth it, but all those times your parents said you couldn’t afford a cat right now were coming from a real place.
12. Being able to say “screw it” and ordering dinner instead of cooking just because you feel like it.
13. The way your body just works completely on its own perfectly. No matter if you’ve never done a cleanse, or are a marathon runner, or subsist on junk food — your body is resilient and is going to try to stay at a fixed point. It can and will take on a ton of stress throughout your life. It is the first perfect machine.
14. A smile from a stranger, someone letting you turn in front of them while driving, that person who let you go in front of them in the grocery line because you were only buying a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Tip the barista or bartender who gave you that free extra, say thank you (and make eye contact, and mean it) to the cashier, and let somebody else who’s trying to merge into traffic have the right of way. You won’t be made any later by doing that.
15. Not needing to go to a store anymore — for anything from a DVD (because you can order it on demand or through a streaming service) to toilet paper. Even groceries can be delivered directly to you. We didn’t have this technology even 10 years ago.
16. Friends and coworkers who call or ask you for advice, because they trust your opinion so much that they think you can help them.
17. Sleep, with all its restorative, healing, sanity-bringing powers.
18. How the Earth sustains itself. It keeps spinning, plants provide oxygen, and the world keeps regenerating whether or not we’re even here. The next time you complain about a rainy day, remember that water is sustaining the life around you.
19. Music, and the gift of hearing it. Flowers, and the power to smell them. A great sunset, and the ability to see it — all things an Instagram filter will never be able to adequately capture.
20. The ability to voice your opinion — in any capacity, from Twitter to protesting to voting — and the belief that maybe, just maybe, that one small voice might be the one that begins to change the world.