18 things that shouldn't be taken for granted

On Tuesday February 19th, back in my hometown of Downers Grove Illinois, a young girl named Beth Dunlap was hit by a car while walking into my old high school. She was immediately brought to the hospital to receive medical care. On Thursday February 21st, Beth was taken off of the ventilator that was keeping her alive. She was pronounced brain dead and that was that. Although I didn’t know Beth personally, this whole situation has hit myself and a lot of my peers very hard. 

I still know and have friends that go to that high school. Siblings of friends who have turned into my siblings as well. It could have easily have been them. I’ve made the same walk that Beth did that day countless amounts of times. It could have been me. But it wasn’t. Unfortunately, it was Beth. 

Like I said, this whole situation has hit me and a lot of my friends very deeply so I wanted to take the time to talk about the little things in life that we shouldn’t take for granted because in the blink of an eye, everything could be over. Here are 18 small things that we should always be grateful for: 

1) Our friends and family 

Never go to bed angry with someone and always make sure you tell people you love them because you never know when the last time you’ll see or talk to someone is. 

2) Our pets 

Our dogs, cats, bunny rabbits, and anything else that might be a pet love us unconditionally. We’re lucky that things so pure love us even with our flaws. 

3) The sports we play 

Sports help us to relieve stress and blow off stream. We should be grateful that things like sports exist for us to enjoy playing. 

4) Music 

The fact that we have the opportunity to listen to any type of music from any era is really amazing and something that I know I especially take for granted. 

5) Our Teammates 

Our teammates are always there for us in our best times and worst. We should always be thankful for them and their support. 

6) Our favorite foods 

We never know when the last time we’ll eat our favorite foods is going to be. Especially while we’re young, we should enjoy and indulge on the foods that make us the happiest. 

7) Our teachers 

Teachers, whether we like them or not, are always there for us. They probably see us more than our parents on some days. They watch us grow and become the independent people that they know we are. They always want us to be successful. 

8) Sunrises / Sunsets 

The Earth is a beautiful place and it provides us with a lot of beautiful things. Just one of those things includes the sunrise and sunsets. Always appreciate it. 

9) Long conversations with friends 

Late night drives with your best friends and stopping somewhere to have long talks are high key therapy sessions and should always be cherished. 

10) Books 

Even though books are going out of style, we should still cherish the ones that we do have. 

11) Water 

I personally take water for granted a lot. Some people, even people in our own country , don’t have access to a clean water supply. We should always appreciate our water and not waste it. 

12) Our senses and different types of sensation 

Being able to feel happy and excited while also being able to see and taste and smell are definitely things we take for granted. Some people don’t have the ability of sight or smell or taste. We’re lucky enough to be able to enjoy that. 

13) Making someone smile 

Just like how giving someone a gift and seeing the expression on their face is priceless and makes us feel all good and bubbly inside, making someone smile is a feeling that honestly can’t be beat. 

14) Hugs 

It is scientifically proven that humans need hugs to survive. That being said, hug your friends, family, pets and anyone that needs it. 

15) Good weather 

Especially in a world where climate change is a thing and scientists are highly urging us to do something about it, we should always appreciate the nice weather while we have it. 

16) Art 

Art is something that is forever changing and I personally think that’s pretty awesome. It’s also something that anyone can do which I think gives it a personal touch. 

17) Classic movies 

Movies like Clueless and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off are some of the best and greatest memories of our childhoods. Being able to watch them whenever and with whoever is the best. 

18) High school 

Even if high school wasn’t the best for you, it still gave us all really great friendships and experiences that we’ll never forget. For me personally, I wish I didn’t take high school for granted because before I knew it, it was May of senior year and I didn’t want it to end. 

Without us even knowing, life could be over within the blink of an eye. The things that we have now and take for granted won’t always be there so we should take advantage of the opportunities that we have in front of us. 

My deepest condolences are with Beth’s family and friends and my hometown. Please, whatever you take away from this, just love your family and friends a little more tomorrow. Don’t be afraid to tell people you love them because in times like these everyone needs to hear it.