You lucky sonofagun.
Sometimes we think that deep joy comes from the external things in life, like a vacation or a great meal. But a little perspective can go a long way.
Although we totally encourage you to make awesome goals for self-improvement every year, we also want you to remember all the seemingly basic, but incredible things that shape your life right now.
These 4 points will cure any case of the “woe is me” and get you doing something in the name of gratitude.
Next time you lust after a Pinterest-worthy apartment…
Be aware that on any given night, there are 35,000 Canadians who are homeless, and up to 50,000 more sleeping on someone’s floor or couch because they’ve got nowhere else to go. Around the world, people are sleeping on the streets because of lost jobs, broken families, and mental illness. If you’ve got a warm, comfortable place to live, you’re one of the lucky ones.
Feel helpless when you see the homeless out on the streets? Make a card that lists the addresses of nearby shelters and keep it in your purse to give out as needed (with a few sandwiches perhaps?). In some provinces, there’s an emergency number you can call if you see a homeless person in difficulty this winter (Edmonton is #211, for example).
Next time you think you’ve got “nothing to wear”….
Put wardrobe woes into perspective by remembering that sweatshops are definitely not a thing of the past. In developing countries, an estimated 250 million children between the ages of 5 and 14 are forced to work in pretty dire conditions, sometimes even trapped in factories and forced to work overnight. According to the National Labor Committee, women sewing NBA jerseys make 24 cents for a garment that will eventually sell for $140.
Host a clothing swap party rather than buying new things, and investigate your favourite store online to make sure they subscribe to ethical production standards.
Next time you feel overwhelmed by school/work….
Know that according to the most recent UNESCO study, 61 million primary school-age children around the world are not enrolled in school. These kids either can’t afford it, don’t have access to teachers, or come from a culture where parents don’t believe in education or care enough to send their children. You may not have loved school, but it has opened up doors that so many will never even get to stand outside.
Next time they get your take-out order wrong…
Think about those who go hungry every night. Not just families in developing countries, but in cities and communities across North America too. According to Food Banks Canada, every month almost 850,000 people are assisted by food banks – and those are just the needy we know about.
Get involved in community food sharing. You can search for your local food bank and donate time or money, or check out Canada’s new Community Food Centre movement, which is focused on growing, cooking, sharing, and advocating for fresh, wholesome food for all.
All it takes is a little humility, a little gratitude, and a big dose of perspective to remind us that the smoothie/car keys/yoga mat in our hands kinda makes us part of the 1%.
And with great blessings comes great responsibilities – so put that cappuccino down and go make a difference!