19 things you should never, ever take for granted in life

It’s not always easy to practice gratitude and there’s plenty to be frustrated with in life. 

But there are certain things you should never make the mistake of taking for granted even on your darkest days. 

Here’s the list of those key parts of life that we should always remember and be grateful for even when the chips are down.

1) The air you breathe

The oxygen we breathe in is something most of us rarely consider. 

But when we experience significant pollution, breathing problems or shortness of breath it suddenly becomes priority number one. 

Oxygen isn’t a given, and it’s the first key to life. 

The first and key thing you should never take for granted in life is the fact that you’re breathing and alive

2) The people who care about you

The people who care about us are another thing we should never take for granted. 

The reason so many of us have a risk of taking them for granted is that we can feel like they already care about us so why worry about it?

But the more you give back to those who love you the more fulfilling and rewarding your relationships will be with everyone, and with yourself. 

3) The great outdoors and animals

The more we see the expansion of urban areas and destruction of natural habitats, the more clear it becomes how precious nature is. 

So are the animals that live in nature and the pets we keep in our homes and yards. 

The beauty and power of nature is something we should never take for granted. 

4) Music, art and beauty 

Music, art and beauty enrich our lives in manifold ways. 

We may not always be aware of how beautiful things influence and strengthen us day to day, but they absolutely do. 

Even one incredibly moving song can be on your mind and change your mood for days…

The painting on your wall or an incredible film or play you see can lift up your whole week or month.

5) Your body and mobility itself

Each of us has a different body with different strengths and challenges. 

We can develop our body or let it fall into neglect and we also face advantages and challenges that aren’t of our choosing. 

The mere fact that many of us have legs and can walk and run and perform basic physical functions is a marvel we should always remember.

6) Your five senses

things you should never ever take for granted in life 1 19 things you should never, ever take for granted in life

If you have all five senses, you’ve been inordinately blessed. 

If you have only four or even three, you’ve still been blessed. 

Our senses are something we often take for granted as youngsters but begin to value more upon getting old and having issues like hearing or vision loss. 

7) Physical and mental health

Physical and mental health go hand in hand. 

They’re something we should prioritize in our lives and also feel very grateful for. 

The caveat here is that when we’re ill or weak or having bad days or struggles we should learn to accept that and sometimes give ourselves a break. 

Never take the work that your body and mind do for you for granted! 

8) Getting older 

There’s an entire industry devoted to anti-aging products and procedures. 

But aging is something we should really be grateful for. 

After all, despite the downsides of getting older it sure beats the alternative! 

9) Sustenance and shelter 

If you have a way to survive day to day by making a living and a roof over your head, you’re luckier than many. 

Sustenance and shelter are two things never to take for granted. 

It’s not just that millions don’t have them, it’s that the fact you have a way to earn money and sleep at night frees you up to pursue bigger dreams and goals you otherwise wouldn’t have the luxury of doing. 

10) Being able to be alone sometimes 

Having friends, family or a romantic partner you can be around is a great gift. 

But being able to be alone sometimes when you want to be is also a blessing we should never take for granted. 

Solitude, introspection, and learning to love yourself are a wonderful experience to have in life, no matter how extroverted you usually are. 

11) Knowing people who can make you laugh 

Having people in your life who can make you laugh is another thing to never, ever take for granted. 

Even if it’s just the receptionist at the building where you work or a bus driver you find hilarious, even a few short jokes can brighten a day in ways that are truly transformational. 

Humor and laughter are a medicine that can cure almost any ill, or at least make life a little more pleasant!

If you don’t know many funny people in your own life is also to become that person who helps give others a laugh. 

12) Willingness and capacity for change

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If you’re willing and able to change yourself this is a huge super power. 

Being able to accept and adapt to change that’s outside your control is also a huge advantage in life and something you should never take for granted. 

If you’re adaptable and are willing to roll with the punches, you’re able to respond to life as it comes at you and even get out ahead of difficult changes like job loss or relationship problems. 

13) Feeling pain and disappointment

This is one of those counterintuitive items on the list:

Why would you be grateful for feeling pain and disappointment?

There are two reasons and they are the fact that without these experiences you often wouldn’t be spurred to make changes and push yourself to be more and follow who you truly are. 

The second is that the alternative is to repress the painful parts of life and live inauthentically, or become numb.

Difficult emotions are part of life and something we need to be open about in order to grow and be authentic.

14) Freedom of movement 

The fact that you (hopefully) have the right and ability to go where you want is something to always remember when you feel like your life is awful.

Ex-prisoners and those held against their will or who lived in nations that don’t allow freedom of movement often talk about the absolute rush of being allowed to go where you want. 

Freedom of movement is a huge gift! 

15) Legal and human rights 

Legal and human rights are precarious. 

They can disappear and are extremely hard to get back once they’re gone. 

If you live in a country where you’re entitled to defend yourself from criminal charges and have rights under the law (that will actually be upheld), consider yourself enormously lucky! 

This ties into the next point… 

16) Freedom of religion

If you are free to believe what you wish and follow your conscience, you’re enjoying something that the vast majority of people throughout history never got to enjoy. 

There are benefits to unified group belief, there’s no doubt about that. 

But the downsides and abuses of unified group belief and lack of religious freedom are also all too clear to see as well as the harm done to those who didn’t believe what they were told to or believed different faiths or paths.

Freedom of religion is something we should never take for granted if we live somewhere that has it. 

17) Diversity and differences

Many Western governments love to say words like “diversity” and claim to be championing that. 

In reality, most are pushing a very specific and ideological view of the world that is highly exclusionary of those who don’t follow their beliefs. 

True respect for diversity means that you actually like the fact that people really are different in their beliefs, customs, appearance, and priorities in life. 

Real diversity’s not always “convenient,” but it’s always more interesting! 

18) The present moment

There’s nothing so powerful as the present moment. 

If you think about it, the present is what’s always in front of us.

The past was once the present and the future one day will be the present:

This means the key to true change and power in our life lies in unlocking the potential in the present and changing what we do in each present moment before us. 

19) Falling in love for real

I’ve met plenty of people who don’t believe that love is real. 

They believe in attraction or chemistry, personality compatibility and all that, but not romantic love. 

Perhaps this is their reality, but I believe romantic love and falling in love are an objectively real experience. 

Never take falling in love for granted! 

Life is short and love is rare. 

What do you think?

Did I miss anything? 

There are certainly many experiences and situations in life that many of us take for granted and only realize what we had when they’re gone. 

Is there something else that should be included here? 

What else would you add to this list about things you should never take for granted? 

Picture of Paul Brian

Paul Brian

Paul R. Brian is a freelance journalist and writer who has reported from around the world, focusing on religion, culture and geopolitics. Follow him on www.twitter.com/paulrbrian and visit his website at www.paulrbrian.com

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