Don’t take your health for granted, that flighty thing. Anyone who’s battled with their own knows how temperamental a body can be. That humans are imperfect machines, short-circuiting beneath our skin a tiny bit each day. Once the health goes, it leaves the door open so that many other things can go with it.
The taste of love in a homecooked meal, your eyes reuniting with something you’ve missed, the scent of a former fling, the sound of dancing piano keys. Use your senses, use all of them in ways that enthrall and embarrass you. Leave nothing untouched.
That buzz in your brain, that vibration you feel when your ambitions have been rewarded, when you finally succeed where it matters most? Hold on to it tightly; recall it when the champagne giggles of accomplishment fade into a content sigh, when the high of recognition wanes. Never take the electricity of achievement for granted; you will have been lucky to experience it in the first place.
Don’t take for granted your freedom. The freedom to create, the freedom of thought, the freedom to imagine because these are the freedoms no one can take away. Be thankful for the people who protect the freedoms that can be retracted, the ones we take advantage of most, the ones that didn’t exist 20, 50, 100 years ago. Realize you’re entitled to speak, to vote, to assemble because someone long before you put in the grunt work; realize that others might never see a day when they can express themselves in public. Understand that freedom is fickle, that we could lose it to apathy at any moment.
People should not be taken for granted — not the ones who raised you, not the ones who ground you, not the ones who love you. Not the stranger who chased you for a half-block to tell you you’ve dropped something, not the one who holds the door for you, not the one who asks you if you’re feeling okay or the one who asks you to dance. Their actions are not inconsequential; they are what it means to be human, a state so common that it’s rather easy to forget how extraordinary it can be. Don’t. Remember it always, remember how bland and unsatisfactory and meaningless life would be without humanity.
The time someone stood in front of you and nakedly, candidly told you how they felt about you; the time someone let you cry for minutes, hours, because you couldn’t do it alone anymore; the time someone asked how you were and wanted to listen to the answer. Don’t take this for granted, because moments like these don’t come in bulk. Acts of love can’t be bought on sale or saved for rainy days — they come when they come and the best you can do is recognize them for what they are: flashes that make life worth living.
Don’t take for granted the small things: the last time the sun kisses your face before three days of rain or having a pair of eyes to look into, hands to hold. A warm bed to collapse into at the end of a long day and an illuminated sky on a clear night. Embrace the people you can sit in silence with, and the ones who make you laugh for hours with little effort. The small things add up to big things, the big things add up to everything. Don’t take this for granted.