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Some of my favorite everyday brands -

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Berkeley professor researches high-poverty high school -

December 11, 2017

Rosenberg steps down as Senate President during husband’s controversy -

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Students aim to bring smiles to kids’ faces at Baystate Children’s Hospital -

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‘Growing Cannabis On the Farm’ event held at Hampshire College -

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UMass women’s basketball defeats Saint Peter’s for third straight win -

December 11, 2017

Beauty that exists all around you and how to notice it

(Collegian File Photo)

I urge you to pause for a moment, and brainstorm one thing you’re grateful for today. Despite how your days going, and the fact that maybe you missed your bus or dropped your coffee, think about that one good thing that maybe made you smile or put a little skip in your step.

Do you have your one thing?

Sadly, most of us don’t take enough time out of our days to think about all of our blessings. There’s no doubt that we all go through trials and tribulations, life’s a constant roller coaster and it can be difficult to roll with the punches and what not, but there’s always something to be thankful for, no matter how minute.

As humans we can easily forget about all the positives in our lives. It’s easy not to see the good in having three exams in a row or having to wake up for an 8 a.m., but blessings exist all around just the same. If we just take some time to reflect, we could easily compile a list of simple things to be grateful for.

There are the people in your life who help you maintain and sustain your daily objectives. There are people whose advice and company will always bring solace. Give them a shout out as frequently and passionately as possible, you won’t regret the added peace it brings you.

Below I complied a short list of underappreciated everyday things/tasks/people that will make you smile.

Maintainers:

Who cleans the bathroom at your apartment/dorm? Who takes out the trash? Who replaces the toilet paper and soap? The maintainers in your life are the backbone of all underappreciated tasks. Without them the whole system and delicate balance would break down. People like this are the most hardworking people you will ever meet but are sadly under-appreciated. Take a second to fix this. Thank the maintainers in your life because they do more for you than you probably often realize.

Able bodied freedom:

There was a man who was paralyzed from a car accident that spoke at my high school a couple years back. At one point in his speech, he made one of the simplest yet heart wrenching points through an exercise where he instructed us to wiggle our toes. The whole audience did as he suggested. Many of us at the time thought it was silly and didn’t quite understand why he was asking us to do this. He had us reflect on the possibility of not being able to wiggle our toes. Something easy and mindless became the focus of our appreciation in that moment. Wiggling our toes, walking down the street or dressing ourselves in the morning often doesn’t process as something we should actively be thankful for, but it’s an important part of our daily lives. If taken away, we’d likely think about it more. You never know what you have until it’s gone, but just noticing how much your body does for you on a daily basis can bring unabridged thankfulness.

Time

The truth is that time flies. Many of us like to think we have all the time in the world to get ourselves sorted out or to procrastinate or to treat people haphazardly. We don’t take our time and others’ time into consideration. People put aside their time and energy to be there for us and many recipients of such generous acts don’t even realize it. The next time you meet with someone, really thank them for taking time out of their days to spend it with you. To converse, to eat, to explore. Whatever it may be – be thankful.

Education

College isn’t always rainbows and unicorns, I’m sure everyone knows as well as I do. It gets stressful and at times it can feel like too much is being thrown at you. But college is a privilege that many of us take for granted in light of comparison. It costs an unreasonable amount of money, yet here we all are working towards a higher education.

There are many students our age who don’t get the opportunity to attend college due to financial issues or other responsibilities. When writing that 10 page paper on a Sunday night attempting to make the midnight deadline, take the time to be grateful that you are given the opportunity to stress about classwork and not more tumultuous issues.

Parents

Yes, this is a very cliché answer, but our parents have been working hard their whole lives for us to have a better life. Parents do all that they can to make their children’s lives better than their own. Many parents even give up their dreams so their children can achieve greater ones. Yes, our parents annoy us and get into our business, but they love us more than we’ll ever know. Many of us don’t truly comprehend what our parents do for us until we have children of our own. Take time to call your parents and thank them for all they have done for you. Call them, send them a card, just tell them you love them. Honestly, that will make their day more than you will know.

So many other acts go unnoticed, like someone who helped you pick up the book you dropped or your friend who got you a glass of water at the dining hall without you asking. There are many words of kindness and acts of generosity that make life worth appreciating. The trouble is in focusing on the good rather than the bad, but that just takes some active practice before it becomes habit.

Cynthia Ntinunu can be reached at cntinunu@umass.edu.

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