Have You Ever Considered All The Things You Take For Granted?

Written by on September 5, 2017 in Accountability, Self-Awareness

How Much We Take For Granted

Last week I found myself reflecting on all of the things that I take for granted, like when I decided to treat myself to a 30-day break during the month of August.

There was the road trip around my new home state of Oregon, and lots of hiking. Then there were the work projects, a quick update on my books, create a new subscriber gift, refresh the look of the blog, a new course, and on it went.

Then reality began to rear its ugly head.

Life is So Easy to Take For Granted

Of all the things on my list, the road trip was the highlight because it’s my favorite type of travel and I was more than ready for a little adventure, but as I attempted to organize my itinerary I hit one problem after another.

Apparently, there have been so many other attention-grabbing things in the news in recent months I hadn’t realized just how many active wildfires there are in Oregon!

Roads have been closed, people evacuated, hikers rescued, and more fires were breaking out all across the state. To top it all off the CDC began issuing “very unhealthy” air quality warnings to stay indoors as much as possible. Bah humbug!

Then Hurricane Harvey hit and like so many others I was glued to the news of its devastation and especially the inspiring stories of strangers helping strangers.

I began to think about this fragile life of ours and how much we take for granted every single day, especially in America.

With that in mind, I made a list of things that deserved my gratitude. Of course many are familiar, health, family, friends, but there are some things a little less obvious and I thought I’d share a few of them with you.

A Sample of My List

Mobile Phones

They may be annoying at times, but they also provide access to so much of what the world has to offer. More importantly, they save lives by providing immediacy of access in response to injuries, health emergencies, and natural disaster rescue efforts such as the many inspiring stories that have come out of Houston in recent days.


There are currently 6,200 firefighters working to bring fires in Oregon under control. Another 6,000 are battling the fires in California. These fires don’t take hours to put out they take weeks and sometimes months.

Now, whenever I find myself annoyed about the poor air quality, my canceled road trip, or how my dog is driving me crazy because she’s missing our long walks, I think of the firefighters out there risking their lives day after day and I’ve never been more grateful for their courage and dedication.

Clean Air to Breathe

For all the reasons above and so much more!

The Internet

I don’t know about you, but I would be lost without the Internet and yet it is so easy to take for granted. A quick search for a research study for an article, find just the right quotation, Google a map and get directions, find the best prices, shop online, publish a book and reach people around the world, and of course blog. The possibilities are endless!


What an amazing resource this is, and it’s all for free! If I need to learn how to use a new WordPress plugin or computer software, I head to YouTube. I’ve learned how to make homemade tamales, change the keyboard on my laptop, and how to finally get my dog to stop pulling on her leash from videos. Miss something in the news? Not a problem, chances are it’s been posted on YouTube.

The Kindness of Strangers

There is something so powerful about the kindness that comes from a person that you’ve never met before. It seems to me that when life challenges us to rise above our circumstances, the best of humanity is awakened.

Access to Books

I’ve always been an avid reader but realized I’ve taken for granted how easy it is to get my hands on a new book.

When someone is struggling to put food on the table buying books isn’t a high priority. Public libraries are rare in high-poverty neighborhoods and even when present have fewer resources and more restricted hours of operation.

But what can we do? Look in your area for nonprofit programs that accept gently used books. It didn’t take me long to find one in my area that collects books to distribute through Youth and Family Services.


As I sat writing this post, and sipping on a hot cup of the dark brew, it occurred to me how much I love the smell and taste of the stuff.

Is there a price to be paid? Researchers can’t make up their minds. One year the studies say coffee can cause cancer, the next year it’s helpful for preventing cancer.

The good news is that, aside from that one little study that indicated a slightly higher likelihood of becoming a psychopath, the rewards seem to greatly outweigh the risks.

Trash Pickup

It’s hard to imagine a more thankless job or one that is easier to take for granted, than picking up garbage.

Not long after I moved to Oregon we were hit with a major ice storm that caused a lot of damage to homes and businesses, killed hundreds of trees, plants, and shrubs. Clean up took months, and residential pickup was spotty at best for awhile because the trucks were being used to clear more critical areas. I think we all learned to appreciate the service during that time and what a difference it makes in our lives.


There are pets…and then there are dogs.

Dogs Are Love


The Laughter of Children

It is hard to imagine but child labor was still common in America in the early 1900’s. All across the country children spent 70 hours a week far away from school rooms slaving away at dangerous, exhausting and degrading jobs.

It wasn’t until 1938 that Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act that fixed minimum ages of 16 for work during school hours, 14 for certain jobs after school, and 18 for dangerous work.

Child Labor

When I came across the Agatha Christie quotation I used in the image for this post I couldn’t help but reflect on how much we take for granted the sights and sounds of children laughing and playing, and how tragic it is that there are over a million children around the world today who still work in hazardous conditions in agriculture, mining, domestic labor and other sectors.

We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude. ~Cynthia Ozick

Final thoughts …

I suppose it’s not realistic to expect that we should think about these things on a daily basis, but I can’t help but wonder how different our world might be if once in awhile we took a moment to be grateful for some of the things (and people) that have become so much a part of our lives that we take them for granted.

How about you? Can you relate to any of the things on this list, or have some of your own you’d like to share?

About Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living click here“.

Thank you for sharing!

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  1. Nice to see you back Marquita.
    All the things you take for granted.
    Very true. We really don’t appreciate all the
    subjects that you mentioned.
    What if you thought you would not be here tomorrow?
    Would you then appreciate all the many things in your life? Waking up in the morning, how many times
    have we done this. One day we will not.
    Of the things, you mentioned my fondness are dogs sticks out. I have had almost no time without having one. We treasure our old dog, knowing that soon he will no longer be with us, as he
    has been for 17 years now.
    Children laughing and playing. We treasure each visit of our grand children. Wonderful to know that they are safe in this country, unlike some.
    Life is so easy to take for granted. Don’t! Love every minute.

  2. S

    This is wonderful. I think so many of us, including me take a lot for granted. Thank you for taking the time to point these things out.
    S recently posted…Benefits of Collagen SupplementsMy Profile

  3. Sonal Talwar

    Hi Marquita
    What a wonderful post! you are so right, we take everything for granted.It is really sad. we need to be grateful for what we have.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Sonal Talwar recently posted…Feeling low? Just take a walk in the parkMy Profile

  4. Donna Merrill

    Hi Marquita,

    Indeed, my mindset is tuned in on gratefulness of all those things we usually don’t think about. Running water, hot coffee, clean air to breathe. My list goes on and on. I can look up at the sky and be thankful for a glorious day.

    With all the stuff going on as of this writing, I am so grateful that I do believe in God so I can send my prayers and good energy to those who need it from fires to floods.

    Donna Merrill recently posted…Overcome Blogger Overwhelm and Achieve Amazing ResultsMy Profile

    • I know your kind thoughts and prayers will be appreciated, Donna. The good news is religion, or for that matter belief in a higher power, is not a precondition for someone to genuinely care for or send good thoughts for the health and safety of others so I’m thinking there is LOTS of positive energy flowing right now. Thanks so much for stopping by, always appreciate your thoughtful comments. 🙂

  5. Edward Thorpe

    Hi Marquita,

    Your posts always ramp up my optimism, and make me wanna be a better person – and because you’ve made me feel better about the human condition, I tend to forgive you for subjecting me to all that upheaval.

    This post, for example, was a sweet reminder of what a wonderful world it is… I’m off to youtube & play Louis Armstrong’s song of the same name. https://youtu.be/A3yCcXgbKrE

    Uh, about Labor Day: “Oregon was the first state of the United States to make it an official public holiday. By the time it became an official federal holiday in 1894, thirty U.S. states officially celebrated Labor Day.”

    Great to have you back in the saddle…
    Edward Thorpe recently posted…Cannabis As an Alternative to Modern MédicationsMy Profile

    • Thanks for your kind words Edward, and you know what, I knew that Oregon was the first state to make Labor Day an official holiday. Cool beans! I appreciate you taking time to share your thoughts, and I am looking forward to jumping over to your website to check out your latest post, the title is intriguing! 🙂

  6. Joy Healey

    Hi Marty,

    Welcome back – and what a great post to get back in harness with!

    Just today I needed to book a taxi and of course with a few choice keywords into Google up came a selection and the job was done in minutes. It actually occurred to me there and then that no so long ago, I would have had to spend ages looking up details and ringing round.

    Also I’m decluttering the office, and it’s occurred to me that I have a stack of programming manuals I never use because i look everything up on the Internet.

    On a final note – those people who can go to bed and slip effortlessly into sleep – don’t take that for granted. Some of us can’t!

    Joy Healey – Blogging After Dark

    • Sounds like you have some good projects underway Joy, and you are so right about your last comment. I know more than a few people who struggle with sleep and I certainly emphasize with the challenge. Thanks so much for contributing to the conversation!

  7. I have been trying to live with a motto of gratitude because we do take so much for granted and it is sad that we do

  8. What a wonderful list, Marquita. I was well-aware of the strength of firefighters when I lived in Montana. It was the first I learned aobut smokejumpers. Fascinating job to have.

    I’ve been doing an am/pm gratitude journal this year. At the end of some exhausting days, I may look to the simple things in life that I appreciate. Like the Internet and having cyberfriends who bring joy to my life.

    Welcome back to the blogging world.

  9. Chery Schmidt

    Welcome Back Marty! Yes of course I can relate to many of the things on your list and so many more! The world would be a much better place if we all added the attitude of gratitude to our daily list of chores HUH?

    Great Share My Friend.
    Chery :))

  10. Leo Tat

    Over here in the UK and we see Hurricane Harvey on the news, very strong and scary.

    I do find that I take for granted many things and what I have been doing recently is have a gratitude session after each morning meditation. It’s a 2-3 minute exercise where I give gratitude the lifestyle that I am living, the children and wife that I have (as well as other things to thank for that comes to mind). I find it give me a positive outlook and attitude to the day.
    Leo Tat recently posted…37 Apple Cider Vinegar Health Benefits & Uses With Drink DosageMy Profile

  11. There are so many things people take for granted until something happen like a natural disaster and make them aware of this. I pay everyday attention to little things which I am grateful for. Good to be aware of all these things we take for granted more often. It would change the world.
    Thank you

    • Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts with us Erika! I am always inspired by your thoughtful insights and especially by the stories you share over on your own blog. I look forward to catching up with you. 🙂

  12. Marquita — I love all the things you mentioned that I, too, take for granted. I was especially moved by the images of the poor children who worked such long hours before labor laws were passed. My mother was one of those children. As the child of immigrants from Italy, she began working in a factory at age 11, long, grueling hours. Shen she married my father at age 19 she had already been working for eight years. Hard to believe now.

    • Thank you so much for sharing about your mother Jeannette! I was so touched by the images and stories I ended up spending an entire day reading and exploring the various websites dedicated to them. I can’t begin to imagine the amazing stories your mother must have had about her experiences.

  13. Wonderful post, Marty, and so timely for me, as today I was filled with gratitude for the smallest of things.

    My husband has not been well, and we have been referred to a specialist that hopefully will be able to help him. I called the office to ensure they had rec’d the referral from the family doctor and they had. The receptionist said she had plans to call me by the end of the week to setup an appt down the road. But because I had taken the initiative to call, she was offering me a cancellation spot for 2 days from now! I accepted gratefully, hung up the phone and wept with thanks.
    Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…chocolate beer and more in Hershey, PAMy Profile

  14. Mark

    Here, here M!

    Welcome back! What an outstanding list BTW! And you’re so right, it’s often incredibly easy, to take for granted, what others would surely appreciate!

    But I couldn’t agree more, about the impact “Hurricane Harvey” has had, on helping us appreciate, just how fast things can change for the worst!

    But at least, as you pointed, when tragedy does occur in America!

    There are countless individuals, ready, willing and able to help!

    And that’s nothing, along with all of the other wonderful things you mentioned, to ever take for granted!

    Thanks for sharing another outstanding post! And it’s so good to have you back!

  15. Phoenicia

    Welcome back Marquita – I hope you enjoyed your 30 day road trip!

    Whilst life may not be exactly as we would want it, I am sure we can all find something to be thankful for. The fact I woke up this morning, can see, speak, walk and laugh is a lot for me to be thankful for. I know I can take this for granted as I am busy fixated on what else I want in this world. There are many tragedies affecting people all over the world which are totally heart breaking.

    Writing a thankful list would be a good start. It would serve as a reminder when we get caught up in the woes of life.
    Phoenicia recently posted…Do “it” with boldness!My Profile

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