365 Days of Gratitude: Day 1

Day 1: Being Gracious

I’ve been really struggling lately with being gracious.

It’s unfortunate that as I achieve more success in my career and relationships that I’ve become this more material and extrinsically focused person. So, I’m doing this project to remind myself of why I should be so grateful. Everyday, I will list five things I’m really grateful for. And I will explain why I’m grateful for those things. In addition, I’m going to pair this with 365 days of kindness, so I can go back to being more of a world citizen- not just someone surviving.

Let’s begin!

1. I’m grateful that I have good, affordable shelter. 

Right now, there is a typhoon going on in Tokyo, Japan. Even though my apartment is fairly small, it’s very cheap at about $510 dollars a month. And it protects me from all the elements. I can’t imagine what it must be like in places like Bali or even in some of the more run down portions of Tokyo. I take my apartment for granted every day, but the truth is being without housing is incredibly stressful. And I’m so grateful that not only do I have shelter, but I have shelter that is well within my means to pay for.

2. I’m grateful that I’ve sustained my weight loss for 2 years now.

Two years ago, I managed to lose 17kg. That’s about 37 pounds for those of us that use pounds as our primary form of measurement. I feel so much better and have so much energy now. When I was heavy, I was always tired, and my cholesterol was really high. Even though I was eating a vegetarian diet at the time meant for combatting cholesterol, my LDL was still really high.

In contrast, my HDL which is a protective factor was high. And the actually trans-fat score was low. When I talked to my doctor, he told me that meant that my diet wasn’t the reason it was high. And since I didn’t smoke, didn’t take birth control, and rarely drank- It was probably genetic.

But I remember asking him if losing weight might help. He looked really uncomfortable, and he said maybe. But I knew that I didn’t want to go on cholesterol blockers at 30 because I want to be able to have children. And the cholesterol medication shouldn’t be taken while pregnant, since it raises the risk of birth defects. So, I decided to lose the weight.

Now that I’ve lost weight, I’m so much happier and less concerned about my health.  My cholesterol has also fallen considerably which I’m incredibly thankful for. Thank you Japanese health care for requiring a cholesterol test as part of my physical. I would have never known otherwise.

3. I’m grateful that I’m in a position financially where I have some savings.

I don’t have a lot to say about this except, I’m grateful that I managed to get a job that would help me pay all my expenses and still save some money. Many Americans and Japanese people aren’t able to lay their hands on 1,000 dollars worth of emergency money in a situation. Because of what economic class I was born in, my parents’ support, and my own determination to get a well paying job in Tokyo- I am able to save every month. And I’m incredibly grateful for that piece of mind.

4. I’m grateful that I found something I love doing- teaching. 

I had no idea what to do when I left college. I came to Japan to travel, and I stayed  because I fell in love with teaching. My company that I’m working for has been incredibly supportive of me continuing my education. My workplace isn’t perfect, and no workplace is. But I am so, so grateful for what they’ve done for me.

5. I’m grateful that despite the many ways I’ve messed up over the years my family loves me.

I messed up a lot as a child. And I still mess up. Most of my mess ups have been financial. And I’ve been really fortunate that my family has been able to help me in most situations. Sometimes, I can’t even fully explain why I did something, and I know it’s really frustrating for them. But they still love me, and they try to help me in a way that will benefit me even if it means laying down tough love. It’s only about in the last year that I’ve really begun to understand how to save money which is kind of embarrassing since I’m 27 years old now. But I’m grateful that they have always tried to explain things to me.


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