21 Things To Be Grateful For On My 21st

Gratitude

1. My Parents

I thought I’d start with them because without them I would not be here… obviously. But more importantly, without them I wouldn’t be the person I am today. The only people who have truly watched me grow from day one and continue to support me through the highs and lows. For them I am grateful, not only to be called their daughter, but also to call them my parents, who consistently show me love even when I don’t deserve it.

2. Quality Friends

This year has been a big year for me in terms of learning about friendships. Ultimately, you cannot rush into a friendship and hope it lasts. I have come across my best friends organically and I am so thankful to have each and every one of them. From the weekly calls and occasional texts, its good to know that despite not always being in the same area, we never skip a beat when we get back together. Thanks for growing with me; I’m a better person because of you guys. (You know who you are.)

3. My Health

Health is one of those things that you rarely remember until you don’t have it or someone around you doesn’t. As an athlete, any health issues you may have are magnified when trying to maintain a hectic schedule and perform at a high level. I am thankful for my health and the health of those closest to me because it is truly a blessing.

4. A Great Education

Recently I was asked what my biggest accomplishment was to date and without hesitation, I said graduating from the University of Virginia. They say education is the great equalizer and with that statement I can agree. Fortunately for me, I have been able to get a degree from one of the top universities in the country and I didn’t stop there. As I pursue my masters at the University of Kansas I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to farther my education.

5. Second Chances

With Late Night at the Phog taking place last night, I am extremely thankful to get another opportunity to play college basketball. Joining a new program with only one year of eligibility left isn’t always the most ideal situation for coaches and programs, but I’m so fortunate that my coaching staff took a chance on me and brought me to Kansas. Rock Chalk!

6. My Brother

I’m thankful for my brother because life was pretty boring before he showed up. After six years of being an only child I told mom and dad I’d had enough. Justin, thanks for being my polar opposite and helping me to put things in perspective with your type B personality. You’re quite the character. Thanks for being you!

7. Seasons

Last Monday I left my apartment wearing what I usually wear, running shorts, a t-shirt and running shoes. But that day was different. Instead of walking outside and immediately sweating I actually felt cold. So thankful for the seasons, particularly fall, and the crisp, cool, air it brings. Not to mention, how much more fashionable you can be when it’s a little colder.

8. Times of Struggle

Honestly, it would be a shame not to mention this, because Sydney Sundays came to be during a time of struggle for me. It is during these times that I have learned my hardest lessons and become a better person because of them. Despite the pain at the time, I’m thankful for my struggles because through them I have had to seek God instead of my own strengths and allow Him to be glorified by getting me through.

9. Church/Community

After moving around a lot this past year I am very thankful for my local church and finding a community of people who love the Lord and each other. Where two or more are gathered God is present, and I am thankful that on Sundays I am able to be with the Lord and my brothers and sisters in Christ.

10. Netflix

Because who needs cable when you can get this on your computer? I’m thankful for Gilmore Girls, High School Musical, and Last Chance U.

11. My Gift of Writing

In high school I hated writing but sometime between then and now God has let me develop this skill and use it to touch the lives of those who care to read my work. I’m thankful that I can use this platform as a personal journal and an inspirational blog that can hopefully help someone else.

12. Treating-yo-self

As I’ve gotten older, “me” time has become a greater priority. So thankful for facemasks, pedicures, hot oil treatments, a good book and Netflix.

13. Good Music

We’ve all had a time where only your favorite artists could get you through the day. Most recently, I’m thankful for Beyoncé, Chance the Rapper, Kendrick Lamar and Bryson Tiller. Good music isn’t hard to find but great music is.

14. Childhood

As a 21-year-old I am no longer a child, but definitely a kid at heart. I remember wanting to grow up so badly and after getting a little taste of what it’s like to be an adult, I would gladly choose childhood again. With that being said, I am thankful for every moment as it comes and not wishing it away.

15. Basketball

Grateful for the round ball that has given me so many opportunities and taken me to so many places. So thankful for my ability to play the sport that I have loved since I was seven. To the sport that continues to teach me things every day and tests my determination, will power, and physical toughness consistently.

16. My Ethnicity

In a time when black is simply a skin color and nothing else, let me bring back the beauty of what that word means to me. I am black, but more specifically I am Nigerian and Kenyan. I am so thankful to be a mix of both East and West Africa. To have grown up in a home of two different cultures while still learning the culture that is my own, American.

17. My Work Ethic

You’re not guaranteed anything with it. But you definitely cannot do anything without it. I’m so thankful to my parents who instilled a strong work ethic in me.

18. Holidays

I like to think of these days as national days of gratitude. Often we take time during to holidays to enjoy family, appreciate what we have, and give thanks. If only we would do that everyday.

19. Sleep

Because I pray that those days of getting 4 or less hours of sleep (specifically during undergrad) are far behind me. Whoever tells you, “You can sleep when you’re dead” clearly doesn’t understand the magic of what 8+ hours of sleep can do for you.

20. Alcohol

I mean I feel that this list wouldn’t really be complete if I didn’t put this in. Not really a drinker, but in the future I’ll be thankful for the occasional wine tastings and being able to get into places without any problems.

21. The Lord

I’d be nowhere without Him. The older I get the more I realize that in ALL things must be done to glorify God. I am living through Him, for Him, and to glorify Him. If it’s not advancing his kingdom, it’s not worth it.

Gratitude NOT Gripe

Gratitude

I find it interesting what your perspective can do for you. If you want to see bad things, that is exactly what you will look for and find. But with that being said, if you are looking for the good, there is no doubt that you will find that too.

All too often people find themselves looking at their current situations and only seeing it for what they view as negative, and that’s probably because complaining is easy.

Think about it. It is so easy to sit back and pick things a part. We live in a society that does the same to us.

What does he/she have that I don’t have? What is she/he lacking? Why is (insert activity) so horrible?

Along with picking things apart, we complain without any tangible solutions in mind. Trust me and I am guilty of this too. Have you ever sat back and talked/thought yourself into a negative state of mind?

First you start with one thing in your life that might not be going as planned and before you know it you’re convinced that your whole life is out of control and you can’t do anything right.

I’m sure it has happened to the best of us, but one thing I know that I want to focus on this school year is compartmentalizing my life and counting my blessings.

To compartmentalize is to divide things into sections or categories. By doing this with your life it allows you to achieve more by not letting the emotions of one aspect of your life affect how you perform in other aspects of your life.

For example, if you get a bad grade on a paper in class that should not affect the manner in which you complete your task for a club that you are involved in, or how you treat your friends that day. Everything is separate.

While this is a concept that takes time and practice because we are human and emotions rather than rational govern many of our decisions, one way to help you compartmentalize is to count your blessings.

It’s easy to say what’s not going right, but on any given day you are always blessed no matter what your situation is. There is always something to be thankful for and by thinking of those things in tough moments it might just be enough to shift your thinking. It might help you realize that what your going though doesn’t mean you have a bad life, you’re just having a bad day, or maybe even just a tough moment.

So next time you are tempted to complain and talk yourself into believing you have a bad life, remember to count your blessings. The grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it.

Gratitude

Gratitude

“You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.”

Growing up that was a common saying in my house hold; thankfulness and gratitude were lessons that my parents preached over and over again. This past weekend I was able to revisit those lessons when I got a chance to visit them.

If you know me you know I’m never home, and if you know me even better you know that “home” isn’t a place, it’s a feeling.

Ever since I graduated form high school I can confidently say that I have only been home a total of 4 months in 2 and a half years. With this being said, I have realized that while my definition of home used to be Atlanta, Georgia and my immediate family, I would be homesick very often if I didn’t change that definition, so I did.

Home quickly became where my friends were, where my school was and any gym I could get too. Home was any place and time I went with people who I love and care about, and lucky for me that definition still stands today.

Often people ask me how I feel about going to college so far away from home. Honestly, it has it’s down sides, but when you feel that you’ve chosen the best school for you, distance is just an obstacle, it’s not the end all be all. But this weekend I got a chance to sit down with my parents and really talk about what I am grateful for. Outside of the home cooked meals that I got while I was visiting and the quality time with my family, I started to realize just how grateful I was to be around people I know.

I spend so much time in Charlottesville throughout the year and lets just say, by the end of the school year I’m ready for a change of scenery. But living in DC for the past month has taught me a lot. Here in DC I am the only person I know. Don’t get me wrong, I know my coworkers and of course my roommate, but I am the only person I genuinely know, and that has been a huge learning experience.

I never realized how much being around people you know can affect your experience until I got to DC. In Georgia, I’m around my parents, brother, best friends Andrea and Lauren, George, Mario and his friends… all these people I know. In Charlottesville I’m around my teammates, friends and mentors as well. But in DC I don’t have that.

To say the least, I am homesick because not only am I not at my physical home, but I am not around anyone that I would associate with home. It was not until my time in DC that I realized how much I take this small luxury for granted. I have never been more ready for another change of scenery, and I’m excited to go back to Charlottesville (CVille). This is saying a lot because after staying in CVille all last summer and through the year, I never thought I’d want to go back as much as I do now. I’m excited to see my family, friends, have my own room again, and be surrounded by people who care about me.

The truth is, “You don’t know what you have until it’s gone”, even if you don’t realize you have it in the first place. Moving to DC has taught this lesson and many more. I’ve never appreciated my loved ones as much as I do now.