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Graphic illustration by Josie Leigh/VOX ATL

VOX 5:  Five Little Things to be Grateful About

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Sitting on a park bench after my run, I became overwhelmed and was tempted to shed a tear. I sat there by myself, with sweaty clothes just finishing my run in shoes that had been past their mileage for a while, but the joy was present and abundant. I discovered so much delight in doing just that. This made me realize that we must not rely on extraordinary moments in life for fulfillment. True, satisfaction lies within the small unextraordinary experiences we have. This encouraged me to share five things that give me gratification, and they may do the same for you if given a try.

Disclaimer: I am not some supernatural joyful human that cries when looking at a flower because it’s been through so much to grow. Well, maybe a little, but not in a constant flow. So definitely give these things that delight me a try and read to hear me out.


If I’m not at school, I am working; if I’m not working, I’m working out. If I’m not working out, I am reading; if I am not reading, I am praying. And, if I am not praying, I am crying. Just  kidding, but seriously, I am always on the go, which is not bad. I love my life and the tasks I have, but sometimes I get so caught up in the enjoyment that my life brings that I forget that even those things are not a great place to root my happiness. But I have found that sitting with no phone, distraction, or agenda brings me just as much joy, if not more. Who has the time to sit if you are not on vacation in the Bahamas or retired at 65? I know, right, but try it. Make the time to sit and breathe, whether in bed, outside, or even in your car, before going to work. Try just sitting, taking five deep breaths, and recognizing the beauty all around and inside that you have cultivated and will. Sitting is such a beautiful thing and should be seen as just that.

Talking to a Friend

Having a good friend may need to be your start, but that is not what this is about. As I have stated before, I am always on the go, so I tend to need to slow down and make a call or grab a smoothie with a friend to come back in from being so extroverted, allowing fellowship and friendship to play a role in my life. Some of my fondest moments are when I’m sitting in my friend’s living room, talking with my best friends, and laughing about how none of us can drive, but that doesn’t matter because it brings joy. So instead of listening to that Ted Talk every day, try hitting up a friend and asking about their day. We all need friends, and we are all capable of fulfilling that role. #bethejoy

Clean Bedroom

I love a clean room. The calmness that a clean bedroom brings about is so very strange because the only thing blocking me from this deep sense of ease is myself. No amount of money, friendships, food, or academic approval can give me the same feeling as a clean room. A clean room has its own feeling. Whether that be me feeling like my life is together when it’s not or it being the fact that I’m not tripping over a Yeezy and a Nike at the same time is up for debate, but I do know one thing. A clean room is a feeling unmatched. And should be appreciated for the feelings that it brings. I encourage you all to try this strange phenomenon, because it works. 

Making a Sandwich

I love Subway, I really do. They have the best bread, and the cookies are to live for, but one thing I wish I could do is make my own Subway sandwich. Why? Well, I’ve noticed a thing about myself when making a sandwich; when I make a sandwich, I’m happy. Actually, I’m a lot of things. I am happy, excited, hungry, creative, and, most importantly, making my own meal. It’s something about making a meal and then eating it that brings this soft sense of contentment before the food is all gone. Once you are done making your food and everything is put away, you have this space in time where you’re like, “I can’t wait to eat this food I have just made,” and that little time in space, depending on how hungry you are, is bliss. So small but so bliss. Next meal you make, think of me and my love for Subway but, most importantly, my gratitude for making my own sandwiches. And when thinking of me, I want you to pay attention to that feeling you have right before eating whatever meal you have just made, for there is something to be valued in that tiny space in time.(Subway, send me a check.)

Relating to a Song

Music is a clear indicator that we are not all so different. The fact that Drake’s song “Marvin’s Room” has gotten 109 million streams on youtube is a sight to see. It proves that we have all felt like shit and wanna be loved. I want to use Drake as my source of joy when relating to a song, but for maturity purposes, I’m not. The actual feeling of being seen is not because of Drake all on his own, but it’s the sense of feeling not alone. Finding a new song and relating, whether it be one of the million songs Drake has made – Drake, this is a free promo- or an underground artist, that feeling of being seen and understood is a feeling worth recognizing. So appreciate your likeliness to the “Take Care” version of Drake, allowing for that lessening sense of rejection to be a comfort and not a “Well shit” feeling. 

I say all of these little but huge things not only to express gratitude but so that anyone reading can pay attention to their similar experiences or try out my experiences to find a sense of gratitude. 

Relying on extraordinary experiences to bring about favorable feelings of gratitude is where many go wrong. For those moments are not abundant. These small amounts of gratitude add up to contentment, which only then adds up to more fulfilling moments. Once this cycle of gratitude is established is when one steps up and allows for enjoyment to always be in reach, and not constrained to the extraordinary rare moments to feel grateful.The little things do amount to a lot, and Drake and sandwiches have shown me just that.

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comments (3)

  1. Naivion Stephens

    Spot on. Incredibly and eloquently penned.

  2. baileigh lee

    i love this

  3. beverly benfield

    I love the last one especially, this is so good!