Skip to content


January 11, 2012

At times, I take a lot of things, and people, in my life for granted. Although I try to be aware of how lucky I am in so many ways, I think that taking some things for granted some of the time is normal. If everyone was consciously grateful for every single positive thing, there would be no time to eat, sleep, work, or actually enjoy all of the things we are lucky enough to have in our lives.

But part of what I love about the volunteering I have had the opportunity to do lately is that it puts things into perspective and makes me aware of how lucky I am to have things which I generally don’t even realize I take for granted.

Today I was volunteering for the Stroke Association, helping out at a communication support group for people who have had strokes and have communication impairments as a result. The people who attend these groups come from a range of backgrounds, and the severity of their communication impairments vary widely. Some of the people can communicate well enough to hold a conversation (with some pauses and struggles throughout), while others can only say a few words. Some people can not even tell you their own names or tell you when they need to go to the bathroom.

I can only imagine how frustrating it must be to know what you want to say but not be able to find the words to say it. But that isn’t all. Most of the people who attend these groups also have physical impairments, many have trouble remembering things, and most of them have lost a great deal of their confidence and independence as a result of their strokes. Each time that I talk to the people at these groups, I become aware of more and more things that I take for granted each day.

In spite of all of this, the people I meet at these Stroke Association groups generally maintain very positive attitudes, and they manage to laugh at themselves and laugh together about their struggles. It is very inspiring.

I am sure that I will continue to complain about things and take plenty of things for granted, but at least for today, I just want to remember how lucky I am to be able to move all of my limbs and communicate my thoughts, to tell people my own name, to ask for the things I want, and to have the confidence that when I start telling a story, I will be able to finish it if I want to. These are things that I most certainly take for granted every day.

My time volunteering is coming to an end soon, and I am very anxious to start my job and get back to the life which I am used to. However, I will never forget the lessons I have learned or the people I have met through my volunteering. It has been an amazing experience, and although the point of volunteering is to help and support the people at these groups, I can only hope that I have been able to give back to them a tiny fraction of what they have given to me.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2012 10:44 pm

    For me, the most satisfactory work in the world for anybody, even the most disappointed person to date, is to inspire others and volunteer in works of their interest.

    • January 12, 2012 1:33 pm

      Hi Sajib,

      Thanks for your comment – I totally agree with you. I feel really lucky that I have had the opportunity to do this volunteering, and I certainly hope to do more in the future.

      Best Wishes,

  2. January 12, 2012 11:30 pm

    Beautiful post Emily! I agree that it is hard to be mindful of how lucky we are. One of the things Im trying to do lately is write down a daily gratitude list…so far it’s helping me a lot.

    • January 13, 2012 2:27 pm

      Thanks for reminding me – I would like to try keeping a daily gratitude list. I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying writing yours!

      For those of you who don’t know Angela, please check out . How exciting to have my first ‘celebrity’ comment! I have been following Angela’s blog for years, and it is incredible! Thanks again for stopping by, Angela!


  3. January 13, 2012 2:21 am

    that’s great that you volunteered there!

    • January 13, 2012 2:33 pm

      Yes, I’ve been volunteering for three charities during my job search, and each one is very different but I love them all.



  1. A plan of gratitude | Edible Psychology

Leave a Reply (I love hearing from you and will try to write back, so please tick the box next to 'Notify me of follow-up comments via email' below in order to receive my reply).

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: