Mental Health Monday, Motivation

Appreciating Life

…is something we don’t do.

Be honest. You don’t appreciate the life in your veins the way you should. It’s because you’re probably healthy. Happy (ish). Able to do day to day activities. You can eat. Go to the bathroom. Sleep. Breathe. And it’s because we are functional that we don’t appreciate our life.

We don’t appreciate how nice it is to eat food, healthy or otherwise. We don’t appreciate how nice it is to take a nice breath in. We don’t appreciate how nice it is to have a heart pumping blood through our body or how nice it is to move freely.

Photo by Juan Pablo Arenas on

So this article has been a long time coming. Probably six months and I just haven’t written it. There’ll probably be a part two or three or four someday because I have a lot to say.

This started with the passing of a few YouTubers that meant a lot to me. I’ll link them all at the end of the article but for now, we’re going to say one thing…they lived life. And I mean really lived life. And some still do.

It’s hard to explain, but we don’t appreciate life. Obviously, we don’t often live in the moment which is part of the problem, but bigger than that is our blindness to ourselves. To the life inside of us.

Coming from a completely secular point of view, this life is precious because life isn’t an easy function. I didn’t appreciate my life until these people came into it. Life wasn’t easy for me because of trauma and turmoil and the occasional injury. But I was healthy.

I might not have been well, but I was healthy.

And not everyone has that.

As a kid, people would tell me to be happy for the body that I have. To be grateful for breath. To be grateful for a strong heart. And I was, in the passing way that everyone is.

Yeah, yeah. I’m healthy, okay. Well whatever. This huge thing is more important than that health. My life sucks. This thing is terrible. I’m suffering. Everything is horrible.

Maybe that’s a little dramatic, but it’s the idea. We know we should be thankful for our life. We know we should be thankful for our breath, our ability to eat and function. We might even acknowledge it a little bit. But it’s not a big thing.

It should be.

Photo by David Alberto Carmona Coto on

Again, I’m not a big fan of the word “should”. It pushes blame around, makes people feel bad, and encourages a point-the-finger kind of mentality. But there are still times when the word is really appropriate and this is one of them.

Our life should be a big deal.

So, there are three things I’ve learned from watching three different people and they are ultimately the reason why my life is so important to me. I came from a depressed, suicidal place and I didn’t value my life. While other things played into it, these three people changed my opinion on my life. They made me value it.

Though two of them are gone now, I highly suggest looking at their videos. Listen to what they are saying and take it to heart.

Here we go.

Claire Wineland

This name might be familiar, might not. She was an inspirational person and I’m emphasizing that. She was a person. She had thoughts, fears, pitfalls, and personal dreams. She also just happened to have Cystic Fibrosis. That’s a point that we need to always remember. These people aren’t just their disease.

However, Claire taught me to live a life worth living both by saying that and doing that. She lived a life. And I realized that I, this healthy person, wasn’t doing anything I could be proud of. I wasn’t living. Just moping through.

And that wasn’t good enough for her. She could have easily just sat down, stayed in bed all day, and lived life that way. But she didn’t. She milked as much life out of her days as possible and I wanted to be like that too. I wanted to live a life without any regrets, one that I was proud of, and one that I actively improved.

Among other things, this is what she taught me. To live.

Emily Hayward

This woman inspired me especially on my fitness journey. She had terminal cancer and was in better shape than I was. She had a more consistent exercise routine than me. And I’m sorry, but what was my excuse?

That was what she taught me: to face the world with a smile and fight through to constantly and consistently be stronger today than you were yesterday. She pushed through workouts, pushed through battles, pushed through treatment and here I am, unwilling to go outside and run because of sore legs.

Sore legs?!

She pushed me to care about my physical body more than I already did. She pushed me to work harder, keep on the grind, refuse to give up, and appreciate a good workout schedule.

Among other things, she taught me this: Don’t give in, keep pushing yourself.

The Frey Life

This is a duo, Mary and Peter Frey. Peter and Mary are well, married. And they’ve each taught me something else. Peter very simply taught me compassion and patience because boy, does he have those two things in surplus.

But Mary taught me something very important. She taught me to find beauty in the small moments. With chronic illness, it’s clear that one moment could be great and the next could be a struggle. She has such a positive outlook and always manages to broadcast the message: enjoy the moment. Enjoy every breath, every heartbeat, every moment of your life.

And that’s such an important lesson that those of us who don’t struggle ever day can forget quite easily.

That’s it. Those are three of the people who inspired me to love my life…my actual life.

I have breath. I have blood. I have limbs that work. Sure, I’m a little banged up. Sure sometimes I get injured. Sure things don’t always work. But I’m healthy. I can go through my life expecting a tomorrow. And not everyone has that.

So I stopped expecting a tomorrow. Instead I expected the moment here, right now. I learned to expect a consistent mentality that appreciates my health and my life, that pushes me forward, and that urges me to live a life without regrets.


2 thoughts on “Appreciating Life”

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