Gratitude, outlook and a bit of luck

Haley Alvarez-Lauto | Graphic Artist

Despite the weather being extremely indecisive, Thanksgiving is coming fast. When I was younger, I used to see it as just another obstacle before the Christmas season. Everything that comes with Christmas has always been — and still is — my favorite time of the year. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to appreciate Thanksgiving more. 

Part of my new-found appreciation is because the holidays are a time to see my family and friends again after not living at home all-year round anymore. But mostly, this time of  year reminds me to be grateful. 

Gratitude is something I didn’t think about much until I was in college. My journey with gratitude started with feeling grateful I could study at the university of my dreams, in the city I’m from and adore so much. Nowadays, it’s channeling gratitude toward the simpler things — my cup of morning coffee, how much sunlight the living room lets in and the Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed animal that’s become our apartment’s emotional support toy, which is always seemingly placed beside me when my roommates see me on the tougher days. 

This feeling of gratitude has stemmed from my outlook on life and how much it continues to shift. Naturally, our perspective on life keeps changing as we live more of it. 

One of the coolest things about people is how everyone looks at life differently, and in turn, channels that outlook in various ways in their own lives. What I find most beautiful about everyone having their own perspective is that if you’re lucky enough, you’ll find people who not only inspire you with their own outlooks, but whose lives seem to effortlessly intertwine with yours without any malicious pretense. 

That’s where the third and last piece of the puzzle comes in. Luck. 

Out of gratitude, outlook and luck, luck has always been the trickiest one for me to grasp because I can’t control it. It’s an abstract feeling — something I fall back on when I don’t have a concrete explanation about something.

Luck brought me friends and family that I adore. Luck brought me into a career field that I fall more in love with everyday. Luck brought me into positions that have changed my life — as dramatic as that sounds. 

But luck is only a small part of it. I’m always afraid that if I rely on luck a bit too much, I’ll crash and burn. Too much of a good thing can very subtly and drastically lead to a bad thing, and I’m not the kind of person to push on that. 

So what keeps that in check? Well, it’s the first two things I mentioned. Gratitude and outlook. 

In my experience, gratitude practiced at its purest form is what I hold onto during the chaotic moments. For a second, it can bring me slivers of peace. It grounds me and reminds me of the important things. 

To ensure I still continue to like the person I am, taking the time to recognize genuine gratitude and what that feels like will be at the front of my mind. 

I know this comes easier for some than others, and it’s a lifelong practice. But I’m certain everyone can get there if they want to. I say all of this as someone who’s still trying to figure it out everyday and question if I actually feel these feelings as they should be felt or if I’m just kidding myself. 

Despite all the unsavory things life has thrown at me, I’m grateful for perspective. I’m lucky to have people in my life who I care about and who care about me. The simple things make me the most thankful of all, especially as my time in college is slowly coming to an end,which is one of the scariest things to think about right now. 

All of my thoughts are at a jumble right now. It takes energy to piece them together in a cohesive way, and I simply don’t have a lot of energy these days. 

But if I lean back on being grateful, that will automatically shift my outlook. And with a hint of luck on my side, I think I’ll be alright. 

Happy Thanksgiving! Find something to be grateful for and hold onto.

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