When things are going well, it’s easy to feel gratitude.  But when things are kind of lousy, it’s a lot more difficult to feel thankful.  I’m writing this post not just because of Thanksgiving, but because I need to make more of an effort to be grateful.

As I’ve mentioned before, my spine is curved forward in the neck area which causes constant pain in my neck.  I finally decided to bite the bullet and start physical therapy (which will unfortunately be expensive, but I’m hoping it’ll help).

The problem is that I do not have my new insurance card and won’t have it for a few more weeks (long story).  So I have to be patient and wait…and patience is something I lack.

Anyway, I’ve been feeling pretty ungrateful and sorry for myself lately.  Being in pain all the time sucks, but instead of feeling bad for myself, I should be focusing on the many, MANY wonderful things that I have to be grateful for.

Here are 27 things I’m grateful for during my 27th year.

1. Clean water, enough food, and a roof over my head.  I may feel “poor” because of my massive debt, but I’ve never experienced true poverty.  When I was little, my mother was a single mom on welfare.  But even then, we always had enough food and a safe place to live.

2.  The right to vote.  No matter how you feel about the election results, we are fortunate to live in a country where we have the right to vote.  As a woman, I am grateful to live during a time when women have the right to vote and when a woman had the chance to become president.

3.  My physical health.  My constant neck pain has been challenging to deal with, but my health could be so much worse.  I’m alive.  I can walk.  I have all four limbs.  I can use all five of my senses.  I can take care of myself without having to depend on others.

4.  My mind.  Anxiety and OCD aren’t fun things to live with, but again, things could be worse.  There are people out there dealing with difficult things like Schizophrenia and memory loss.  I’m grateful that I am able to function and perform every day tasks.

5.  My job.  It’s interesting and challenging.  My boss is one of the nicest managers I’ve ever worked for.  Upper management truly cares about its employees, and I know that my hard work is appreciated.

6.  Work perks.  I’m grateful for the on-site gym we have at work that I can use for free.  I’m also grateful for health insurance, PTO, and our office dogs (it’s pretty awesome to work for a dog-friendly employer).

6. My puppy.  There are only two major expenses that I have never regretted spending money on: a trip to Hawaii during college and my pug puppy, Herbie.  Herbs is the sweetest, most affectionate dog I’ve ever had.

7.  Life.  I’m grateful that all of my family and friends are alive.  I’m thankful that I’ve never had to grieve the death of anyone that I’m close to.  This year, there have been many reminders of how lucky I am because life is often cut short.  Too many people my age have already lost a parent.

8.  My parents.  I’m grateful for my parents and how they are graciously allowing my husband and me to live with them while we pay off debt.  If it weren’t for them, there’s no way we’d be able to pay off our massive student loan debt in just three years.

9.  My hubby.  We’re opposites in a lot of ways and we may drive each other crazy sometimes, but he’s my best friend and the love of my life.  It’s easy to take for granted that we see each other every day now, but I try to remember to be thankful for this.  We were in a long-distance relationship for four years, and at the time, the wait seemed impossibly long.

10.  My cats.  After adopting my first puppy, I’ve realized how low-maintenance cats truly are.  They require so little work (compared to puppies), and they’re such sweethearts.  I’m also thankful that after years of hating each other, my cats finally love each other and are constantly cuddling (I think they bonded over their dislike of the dogs).

11.  My friends.  We’ve all had bad friends, and I know how hard it can be sometimes to find really good friends.  My friends are awesome.  I know I can always count on them and they are all caring people.

12.  Mental health resources.  As I mentioned, living with anxiety is often difficult.  However, I am thankful to live during a time when there are all kinds of resources available for people who have anxiety or other mental health issues.  There is also less stigma than there used to be – there’s still progress to be made in this area, but we’ve come a long way.

13.  Personal finance blogs.  Reading about other people who have paid off their student loans amazingly quickly is what inspired me to do the debt snowball in the first place.  It’s also been awesome to connect with other bloggers and to become friends with people who share many of the same passions that I have.

14.  Music.  All kinds… rock, metal, indie, pop, country (only sometimes), oldies, R&B, Christian.

15.  My education.  The cost was insane, but I am fortunate to have received an excellent education.  The majority of my professors were amazing, and I loved my psychology and HR classes.

16.  Living in Minnesota.  I gripe about it non-stop in the winter, but the rest of the year, I actually do like living in Minnesota.

17.  Walking.  Walking is pretty much the only thing that helps my neck pain, and I’m grateful that I live somewhere with 10,000 lakes and plenty of trails to walk.

18.  Yoga.  I hated yoga the first time I tried it.  Now I love it.  It’s funny how things change :)

19.  Netflix and the Gilmore Girls revival.  GG was my favorite show!

20.  Yoga pants.  I know they’re not real pants.  I don’t care.  They’re so comfortable.

21.  Lists, calendars, and any other organizing supplies.

22.  Free things to do.  Having fun with friends doesn’t have to be expensive.  I’m thankful for board games, hikes, bonfires, and free events.

23.  Restaurants that are affordable and offer super healthy options – such as Salad and Go in Arizona.  I really hope to start seeing more restaurants doing this!

24.  Photography.  Life is short, and you never know how much time you’ll have with someone.  When they’re gone, you’ll have two things: your memories and your photos.

25.  Writing.  It’s my therapy.

26.  My wonderful church.  I didn’t grow up going to church, and of what I did see of religion, I didn’t like.  Fundamentalism does a good job of turning people off of religion.  I am so grateful that I found my church…a church that treats everyone with love and respect and doesn’t use religion as a justification for hate.

27.  Most importantly, my faith.  I’m a Type-A perfectionist, and my anxiety is particularly frustrating because it’s something that I can’t control.  It’s unpredictable and irrational.  When you have anxiety, the only path to peace is acceptance.  I am slowly learning to accept the fact that I can’t control everything and to put my faith in God instead of myself.

What are you thankful for?

Other stuff you might like:

My Personal Finance “Aha” Moment
How We’re Preparing Financially for a Pug Puppy
Why I’m Grateful for My Student Loan Debt
The Appeal of Minimalism
9 Ways to Get Free Yoga Classes

Personal Finance Resources:

The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
YOLO: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life by Jason Vitug
Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach
It’s Only Money and It Does Grow on Trees by Cara MacMillan

Blogging Resources:

How to Blog for Profit Without Selling Your Soul by Ruth Soukup
365 Blog Topic Ideas for the Lifestyle Blogger Who Has Nothing to Write About by Dana Fox
ProBlogger: Secrets to Blogging Your Way to a Six Figure Income