After writing down a Christmas wish list (followed by a midnight ramble that might seem a little rough), I also didn't want to let myself forget the importance of staying thankful first. Above all else, I think a spirit of gratitude holds a lot more power than we think.

On that note, after making a list of things I want, I decided to counteract it by making a list of things I'm grateful for. Since last Monday, I started this "seven days of gratitude" thing where I find something to be thankful for at the end of each day for seven days straight. Here are those results.

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monday // for free water bottles, and books that help distract us
As someone who drinks quite a lot of water, it's always very pleasant whenever someone just gives me a bottle of water for free. A friend of mine keeps a whole box of them in her car and once we're inside, she would offer us one, and always make sure we have our bottle with us once we step out of the vehicle. I love it. A teacher also offered me one when I was visiting her house that Monday night, and it's really become one of the little things that just delights me. Also, I'm thankful for books. Not only do they help distract us from overwhelming thoughts and responsibilities, but they also distract us from our phones. Which is why I consider novels as very reliable best friends, and reading as one of my favorite pastimes.

tuesday // friendships and cereal
On Tuesday night, I joined three of my friends on a long drive across town for a little prayer meet at church (for the record, not trying to whine about living an hour away from the location BUT ANYWAY). I've been thinking a lot about friendships and how they form and develop over time; mostly constructed by the random conversations and tiny pointless jokes people share. For the record, I think that when you have friends you trust, who make you laugh and accept you as you are, you're actually pretty lucky already. As for the cereal, I had a bowl of it for breakfast that morning, and realized it's been weeks since I last had one. So cheers to cereal.

wednesday // the fact that i have the luxury of learning how to cook
And my clumsy adventures in the kitchen continue. Wednesday noon, I realized that cooking things in a pan is simple, but trying to properly cut all these vegetables? Who has the time?? I can hold a paintbrush, a pencil, a camera; anything my hands are well familiar with. But holding a knife and working with it is downright frightening. Nevertheless, even though I found out I actually need to practice on these basic things, like peeling potatoes or dicing onions, which tests both my cutting abilities and my patience, I've been kind of enjoying it. (Or at least I have to, anyway.) The gratitude part is me being thankful for always having enough food at home that I get to learn all of this, and still prepare a decent meal for the family.

thursday // love and a ukulele
Yes, I'm grateful for love, and no, I don't mean the romantic type. I mean the kind of love you see in a mother carrying her toddler around because he just woke up from a nap. Or the kind of love you see in that toddler, his arms over her neck, his whole body clinging to his mother's like it's the safest place in the world. We had an early Christmas gathering with our extended family last Thursday and  it made me feel that–in the words of a great holiday movie–love, actually, is all around. Also, I'm thankful for the (slightly toyish) ukulele I keep in my bedroom, because it's always there to cheer me up with a few songs after a long day. Nothing quite like singing small renditions of Dream a Little Dream of Me until bedtime.

friday // life lessons from my mom, and a city
I have a lot of chats with my mom and plenty of those that I'm thankful for are the heart-to-heart conversations that make me learn so much. Our topics vary from dreams, to family, to my mother's admirable work-hard-and-do-good values. I'm glad I have a mother that doesn't only nurture me, but also guides me with a clear conscience and gives me solid, helpful advice to navigate the many paths my life may take. And I'm thankful for my hometown (although I'd much rather call it a city than just a "town"). I was never the child who moved around a lot and lived in multiple cities in her lifetime. Where I live now is where I've been my whole life. And as imperfect as it is, this city, with its overrated cafes, crowded shopping malls, and busy traffic hours, will always be my home.

saturday // therapy, in all forms.
Some people assume that I find the time to paint, write, or play music because I want to become better, or because I'm somehow very passionate and artistically inclined as a person. But as a matter of fact, the real reason I've been delving into these things is purely for therapy. Let's face it, life is hard and therapists are expensive. So instead, my mind has turned to therapy in other forms; reading, writing, painting, or playing whatever instrument within reach. Art/music therapy is a real thing, and it rarely disappoints. Painting a canvas with some jazz tunes playing doesn't necessarily solve all my problems but hey, it makes me feel better. Writing a long poem might not fix anything, but if it lowers anxiety levels then why not? Whether or not people can understand, I'm eternally grateful that I get to do the activities that can relieve my soul and help me breathe.

sunday // newspapers and colors
Then I blinked and it was Sunday. Firstly, I'm thankful that newspapers are still a thing. Clearly, in media, there's the "everything is digital" debate; how people nowadays would much rather read what's on their phones than anywhere else, further emphasizing the "print is dead" predicament. But I like holding onto the blind optimism that print will not die. Therefore, I think newspapers deserve a little more credit for still doing what they do. Second, I'm thankful for color. The very existence of it. I wore a blue shirt to church and it was a shade of blue I very much liked. My friend designed an entire outfit in tones of beige and brown, and it was very pleasing to the eye. Another friend wore a red sweater I found myself admiring from a distance because I just loved that specific shade and thought it looked nice. Other than that, I'm a photo enthusiast who has a lot of fun playing around with tones on Lightroom (visible through everything you see here or on my Instagram). I like adding warmth to my pictures, and I also like how a slight difference in hue gives a direct change in the mood we're trying to convey. In short, I just like colors.

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I assign myself tiny brain projects like these many times, but this one I really enjoyed. It's good to remind ourselves of the things (big or small) that simply make us glad to be alive.

That marks the end of today's post, and I'd totally recommend this to anyone who's willing to give it a shot. It's really become one of the sweetest parts of the day; crawling into bed at night with my mind trying to find the one or two things I'm most thankful for that day. Other times, these small thoughts of joy just surface like epiphanies. Do try it when you can. It can boost your positivity and make you think that whatever day you had, it may not have been that bad at all.

I hope I see you around.