Late night gratitude

I don’t know about you, but most nights when I’m laying in bed trying to fall asleep, I think about a lot of things.

My current problems, what I have to do tomorrow, what the worst case scenario would be if my alarm didn’t go off and I showed up a few hours late to work, when I’m going to find time to catch up with an old firend over some lunch, etc.  All of those things and more.

Last night, a few of my girlfriends and I were watching TV in the basement when we stumbled across an MSNBC special about sex trafficking in Texas.  If you’re interested, you can find more information here.  I don’t feel that I need to explain what the show was about but let me just say that it was so real and moving enough to change my sleeping habits.

Well, when I was trying to sleep last night, I was having a lot of trouble because I couldn’t help but feel terrible for the girls I saw on that show–girls who were addicted to drugs and simply couldn’t find a way out of their situation, girls being forced and threatened to sleep with men for money, and girls are so desperate that $50 to sleep with a man is their idea of a living.

Instead of thinking about myself, I thought about them.  Imagine having to cry yourself to sleep every night because you’re trapped in a life you didn’t even know could be so terrible.  I really couldn’t help but think that there are young girls out there, just like me, who go to sleep dreading tomorrow.  I fall asleep every night in a queen sized bed surrounded by at least six pillows with the air conditioner running; there is a girl out there who falls asleep on the floor or a bed with no mattress surrounded by nothing but other girls in the same situation, all too afraid to run.

These thoughts literally brought me to tears, and after a little while, I came to believe even more just how lucky I am–and how lucky you are too.  I know that it seems as though our problems are life or death sometimes, but guess what?  Breaking up with someone, fighting with a friend, or not having enough money for that cool new Apple gadget that everyone else has are all such small prices to pay compared to living the nightmare that someone out there is currently stuck in.

Every night from now on, I refuse to think about my problems while trying to sleep.  Starting last night, I just thought about how lucky I am.  I thought about the beautiful day I spent by the pool with my friends, and how my biggest worry at the moment is that the remote for my stereo is out of batteries.

I woke up this morning feeling happier and luckier than usual–and I do believe that I have this new sleeping strategy to thank.  I urge you to do the same.  Skip counting sheep, and ditch your worries, forget your problems, and just remind yourself every night before you go to bed how lucky you are, whether it’s because of something as simple as being alive, or having a computer to blog on.

Life really is this simple:

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