10 Things I’m Grateful For Today (and Every Day)

We’re all accustomed to so much complaining these days (I’m no exception) that I decided to put out this list today (not in any particular order).

1.) The sunshine on my shoulders. John Denver knew what he was talking about in his song of the same name; if you’re ever feeling in a bad mood, go to iTunes and download this and listen to it (preferably while you’re outside).

2.) Dandelions.Americans spend so much money on toxic weedkillers to get rid of these “weeds” but to give it a whole new perspective: I was walking outside with my 3-year-old daughter who told me “Don’t step on the beautiful flowers [dandelions] mommy. They’re so beautiful.” And I thought: Darn, they are kind of nice: bright bursts of sunshine. (We don’t use any weed-killers on our yard so we have plenty of dandelions!)

Dandelions-Field of Dandelions

Not sure why people spend so much money getting rid of these flowers (not to mention polluting our environment with toxic chemicals), but I'm realizing just how beautiful these "flowers" are!

3.) My health. We take our health for granted until something serious happens and we can’t enjoy life the same way anymore. For anyone who has yet another excuse for why they can’t get out and exercise (so important for staying healthy), think about all the people who would give anything to be in your position.

4.) My small but cozy home. We live in the age of knockdowns: this house doesn’t have everything I need, so I’ll knock it down and build something even bigger and better. And I think: we have so much more in this country than so many people, yet people always want more and more and more. I’m thankful for my home; it’s everything I need.

5.) A cell-phone-free day. I’ve shut it off today and I don’t care what calls I miss. I’m tired of being connected (almost like by IV!) to this darned thing!!!

6.) An ice cold glass of water. When was the last time you reached for this instead of a bottled ice tea, sugary drink or something else? Try it…you’ll remember how good it really is. And when you think about people around the world who don’t have access to it, you’ll appreciate it even more. (To do something this Earth Month, log on to www.avedawalkforwater.com/find-a-walk-US.php: Aveda is celebrating Earth Month [this month], by encouraging people around the country to participate in Walks for Water. Get out, get some exercise, and do something good for the earth.)

7.) A much-needed vacation. You don’t have to go anywhere…just don’t go to work. It could just be for the day. What are you saving all those days for anyway? (You might just lose them, too…I speak from experience. Over the past 5 years, I have lost more than 80 days of vacation!!!! NOT GOOD!) Oh, and shut off your cell phone and BlackBerry as all the people back at the office won’t hesitate to contact you if they need you.

8.) A nap. When was the last time you took one; I took one this past weekend on a horribly rainy day and it was the best thing ever. Two hours of uninterrupted bliss.

9.) My kids. Who else would tell you that “I love you more than everything in the whole wide world” (my 7-year-old son tells me this) or “Mommy, you are SO beautiful” (my 3-year-old daughter tells me this as she’s brushing my not-so-beautiful hair).

10.) Long-term friendships. There’s an old saying that friends are those people who know everything about you but love you anyway. Enough said!

When I’m feeling the need to complain, I’m going to pull out this list to realize everything I have to appreciate…

Valerie LatonaAbout Valerie Latona
As the former editor in chief of Shape (the active lifestyle magazine) for 5 years, I personally spoke with a lot of women (thousands over the years, from around the nation) and what I found is this: it's not easy to stay healthy, to get (and stay) fit, and to stem the weight gain tide (and even the tide of disease) that inevitably happens to us as we get older.