Opinion Column: The Things We Take For Granted 


photo by Josie Kidder

A sampling of important people, places, and things.

Josie Kidder, Editor

The clean flowing water of the river, the invigorating breeze of the fresh air, or even the sound of a heartbeat, are all things we take for granted in life. There are millions of people worried about surviving off of contaminated water, and polluted air while many other people think they have it the worst because of the unsatisfactory feeling of having a bad cell signal.

Money, designer clothes, phones. They are all material items that we want but don’t necessarily need. Although we all grew up in a different society, a different household, with different circumstances, that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have these items just because others don’t. It means that we should appreciate them more and take care of them.

So instead of seeing the glass as half empty, see it as half full. You may not have gotten that Ps5 you wanted, but the Ps4 that was under the Christmas tree is just as good.

“I think people take things for granted because they get too comfortable. We get used to having certain things and often forget how life was before we had ‘said’ things. I think it’s important to always remind yourself of that. It makes the meaning of life so much more valuable,” said public relations major Chalyda Tarr.

Not only do we take material things for granted, but we can also undervalue the essence of life. As we get older, there are more responsibilities and hardships placed on us.

That we overlook precious moments in our lives that could be gone in the blink of an eye.

Substance abuse major and loving mom Bethany Shelton has been through a great deal since Covid-19 hit. She has not been able to see much of her family because of the risks and harm Covid-19 could have on them.

She has a special needs 22-year-old son named Matthew. He has hypotonia cerebral palsy, epilepsy, unspecified genetic disorder, and severe scoliosis. Not only does she have to be cautious for herself and her son, but also for her stepdad who has prostate cancer, and her identical twin sister who has Melanoma Stage 4 skin cancer.

“I was able to visit my family and have my son every other week. My son loves to go out to eat, visit his friends and spend quality time with grandparents and cousins. But now he stays quarantined most of the time. Since 2 family members have advanced stages of cancer and my son is high-risk special needs, we have to use Facetime and have very short visits,” Shelton said.

Shelton has lived in a world of caution ever since Covid-19, and realizes that the world needs to start having a different perspective on life.

“I took for granted that when I had my son that he would be born healthy and would come home a few days later. He was injured by the doctor at birth in St. Louis, and spent 2 months in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). As a society, we have all been living life with no worries and no thoughts of a pandemic. We have the mentality of ‘bad things won’t happen to us’. We get up every day and go to our jobs and school and we take for granted our health and the health of our loved ones. We need to start thinking differently.”

Even the simplest things like seeing someone’s smile lighten up a room can alter the way we think about the impact Covid-19 has had on today’s society.

“Before quarantine, I enjoyed talking to people in public. I loved to watch how people smiled about certain things they liked talking about or frowning because of the recent weather patterns. I miss being able to read people’s facial expressions without the presence of masks,” Tarr said, “After covid, I began to see how much you miss being wrapped up in your own, personal activities. I now make an intentional effort to spend as much of my free time with my family as I can because this pandemic has taken so many people from this world, and I don’t want to regret not spending enough time with them as I should.”

Life is valuable and precious; it’s something that should never be taken for granted. Most people think there is always going to be a tomorrow because they’ve never experienced otherwise, but that is not always the case. There are as many misfortunes in the world as there are blessings.

“We all have never been promised tomorrow and we should make every day count. Help each other and have patience. My advice is to spend quality time with your family. Sit and talk about the good ole days and laugh and reminisce. It can be a nostalgic opportunity,” Shelton said.

Rather than focusing on the material desires in life and living every day like it’s the last, savor the sweet moments and enjoy life to the fullest.