More often than we like, we are too caught up with the busyness of our lives. Endless thoughts, worries and emotions overtake us. We wonder what the Rott will serve for dinner tonight – whether or not the ice cream machine will be working – or we get caught up thinking about some of the bigger things in life, such as our ambitions, love affairs and whether we will be able to sustain ourselves. 

I marvel at the fact that I am alive, on this blue rock floating in space, in this solar system.

— Ayaan John

We keep chasing silly ideals of who we want to be, and wonder whether or not we are “good enough.” I have learned that it is important for each individual to be fully accepting towards themselves as they are, the things they have gone through and their response or reaction to that situation. 

As hard as it is, I have learned that we must simply accept ourselves, keeping in mind that it is vital to learn and grow from every experience. Sometimes, while being so caught up with life and the personal narrative of our life, we forget about being grateful. 

Being grateful is not an attitude or some quality; it is the deep understanding that simply to be alive is the most tremendous gift. 

There is only one thing certain the moment you come into this world, and that is that you are going to die at any moment, in any way. Everything that happens between life and death is an unwritten part of history. The food you eat, the people you meet, the college you attend, the clothes and shoes you wear – nothing is promised to you the way you may have it at this moment. 

Certain moments may be difficult to endure, but it is important to remember that the course of life is such and everything you go through is all a part of your life experience to learn and grow from. This also includes those moments of love and happiness, which are to be enjoyed as well. We are not obligated to anything, and should be grateful for the good parts.

So, what I do is make a conscious effort to take a moment to stop and be aware of my breathing. You can try it, too – that is, if you still happen to be breathing. 

I marvel at the fact that I am alive, on this blue rock floating in space, in this solar system. 

To me, that is absolutely nuts, and yet here we are. Sometimes, I just become like a statue and watch things going around me without participating or reacting to anything, watching life happen on this little college campus, and I find myself smiling at the madness of what we call existing. 

Or I look at something as simple as a tree and ponder on the idea that it is just a life form. I forget the context that it is called a tree and just look at that particular life form for what it is and not what I have learned it is, because a tree is just what we have named it for our own use. Organized chaos and sheer absurdity.

The more open and receptive I have become to being alive and the things I get to experience in this lifetime, the more I have learned to be grateful, and that has carried into everything I’ve experienced and what I continue to experience from that realization onwards. 

Slowly then, each moment has become a gift, and the understanding sets in that there is nowhere to really go, there is just to be. A certain peace within starts to settle.