It’s been over a month since I decided to go through with taking a temporary leave from school to focus on my own well-being, and there’s still a little over a month more until I have to head back in the beginning of January. Looking at how things are now, I can’t help but smile in gratitude for how far I’ve come. Just a little over a month ago, I’d been in the worst state I’ve ever seen myself in and fast forward to the present – I’ve bounced back with a newfound respect and intense appreciation for life. I refused to give up on myself. I had faith that I could weather the storm, and I did. I trusted that things would turn out the way they were supposed to and let go of what I knew contributed to the pain I was in, despite it being one of the most difficult things I ever had to do. I stopped resisting what life threw at me, and instead started to accept it. Instead of working against my present circumstances, I chose to work with it. And this is one of the lessons among the many that I’ve learned during this difficult period that I’ll be taking with me for the rest of my life. With pain, comes wisdom. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Over the last month especially, I’ve gained much clarity in my life – about who I am, what really matters to me, and the life I want to live. I’d like to dedicate individual posts to the lessons I’ve learned over the last month. That’s not too say I learned all of this in exactly one month – these are lessons that have been shown to me through experiences I have accumulated over the years but have only recently (upon much introspection) have begun to make sense of and connect the dots to. Since I’ve started this post expressing my gratitude for life, this is the lesson I would like to share in this post. The importance of being grateful for what you have. Being human, we can’t seem to help our insatiable need for more. And when we don’t get it, we often become resentful and deem life unfair. The Buddha highlighted this in the Second Noble Truth – desire causes suffering. While I think most of us can agree that eliminating all desire is a near impossible feat for humankind at present, it’s important for us to keep in mind to really look at the richness of what we do have in the moment and be content with it. To understand that it’s okay to want more or to be more, but not to think we are any less without it. Because even if we can’t see it at the time, there is always, always, something to be grateful for in our life. As long as we’re still breathing, life itself is already the best gift we could ever ask for. And this becomes increasingly evident in dark times, especially in those in which we’ve lost ourselves chasing something we thought would make us happy. When we’ve lost what we’ve neglected in pursuit of an ideal which we thought would finally satisfy us…only then we realize just how good we had it to begin with. So let us be grateful and appreciate what we do have instead of focus our energy on what we don’t. Even as I sit here now and while there are many other things I would like to have, I can help but smile thinking about what I already do.