Gratitude – the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness. Many times in life we claim that we are thankful for the things we have, and the opportunities we get. Although we may be truly thankful, if we have never experienced the other side, where you wouldn’t have those things, would we be even more thankful? On my recent vacation, I was fortunate enough to experience what it would be like on the other side. At one point we went to one of the well known, more stocked, grocery stores on the Island in the Bahamas we were visiting, to check it out and pick up some items. I remember when we first got to the island, someone told me “I’ve seen flea markets that are more reliable than the stores here.” It couldn’t be that bad right?
I was right. It wasn’t bad at all, it was very different however. Imagine a grocery store like Publix or Winn-Dixie, a huge and spacious lot dedicated to food. At least ten aisles packed with thousands of different brands. And on one aisle hundreds of brands of the same item! A whole area dedicated to meats, produce and seafood with different types of each. Do you have that in your head? Good.
The well known store we went into was close to the size of a living room, with ceilings so low that I had to duck to walk around (I’m 6’4″.) There was only one brand of each item, and most were a major brand we have here. With only 2 refrigeration units, there were no freezer foods that you could microwave up if you were feeling lazy for the night. Instead they were used to hold produce so it wouldn’t expire too fast from the heat. Don’t get me wrong, every practical food you would need was there, and you could live comfortably. There just isn’t as much of a selection as stores back home.
Don’t worry though, with such a huge selection we don’t waste any food here… right? A recent study from the Natural Resource Defense Council shows that 40% of food the U.S. has, gets thrown away. That 40% equals to about 165 billion dollars each year! Imagine if our grocery stores and other places we get food from were more limited, we could save necessary resources like water and money! We should be grateful that we can go into a grocery store and pick which vegetables we want because of how much we have, and that we aren’t limited to 50 foods in our grocery stores.
Gratitude can also tie into fitness and health as well. It’s a privilege to wake up every day and be able to breathe and move freely. To be able to go on a run or a walk or even to exercise in general is a privilege that everyone should take advantage of. In the end, if you don’t take advantage of it while you can, you eventually won’t be able to. All it takes is getting of the couch and taking that first step. That first step is what starts it all, and just like moving, you can’t go anywhere unless you put one foot in front of the other. I’m glad to have my experience with the grocery store. The day I came back I went to Publix and was in awe at how lucky and privileged we are to have such a variety with such a high quantity of food. I feel like I can say that I am truly thankful for the food I can put into my body to fuel my workouts and my daily life. We should all take some time and practice gratitude, I know I will. If you have an experience that helped you realize how fortunate we are or allowed you to see things in a different frame of reference, leave a comment. You can also leave a comment on my @JourneyToSpartan Instagram or tweet to me @Journey2Spartan!