I am a really grateful guy, and it isn’t because of all the yogi bullshit I read (I do read a lot of it). It’s because I truly have A LOT to be thankful for. As far as lives in 2017 go, I know I have it pretty damn good. Instead of being born into starvation in some crippled third world economy, I was born healthy, in Canada, with a world of possibilities laid out in front of me. I really have no reason to complain about my circumstances in any way. All things considered, I am from a family of people who immigrated to Canada under less than ideal circumstances, and my life could have easily turned out very different than it has.
“My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too” – Barack Obama
My grandparents fled poverty and war in Europe to come to Canada with little to nothing in their pockets. Their stories honestly give me goosebumps every time I think about them, but they continue to reinforce a thought that I believe is really important to remember; that my life is literally the culmination of generations of struggle to create a better existence. I constantly remind myself that I live the life they all had in mind when coming to Canada in the first place, and it is incredibly humbling to realize how fortunate I am. My grandparents worked their asses off in modest jobs to provide my parents with opportunities they would have never had the option for in their home countries. My parents had much better opportunities than my grandparents ever did, and they were then able to provide my siblings and I with exponentially more opportunities than they even had growing up here in Canada. We honestly had an awesome childhood. It is the definition of upward mobility, replicated through decades of unconditional hard work so that my siblings and I, who weren’t even born yet, could live more comfortably.
Just as almost any Canadian who belongs to an immigrant family could probably confirm, gratitude simply comes as part of the package. It’s easy to appreciate someone who dedicated their life to the betterment of your own. One thing I previously never understood was my parents and grandparents frustration with me during times when I chose to avoid taking my career, education or commitments seriously. I realize now why I owe it to them equally as much as I owe it to myself to approach these things with all seriousness and respect. My family took their lives seriously so that I could be here, and I should at least show that I appreciate all of it. You might not think of me in particular as an immigrant, but our backstories are a part of what defines us, and knowing my background has played a huge part in shaping my worldview. I have a lot to be grateful for, and I know it.