I sigh as I plunge myself into the back seat of my Uber, transferring my heavy purse from my left shoulder onto the middle seat, leaning on it for support as I again wonder why Tuesday's always seem to be the longest, most tiring of days.

Taking a deep breath of relief after waiting anxiously in the brutal Chicago cold, I lock eyes with my driver in the rear view mirror.

"How are we doing today, Miss Emily?"

"Pretty good. Cold. How are you?"

Ordinary Uber small talk.

As I mindlessly scroll through my endless Instagram feed, ignoring the fact that I undoubtedly get carsick every time I do this, I notice Sinatra's "Fly Me to The Moon," quietly playing in the background. I immediately start to wonder about this man. His story. His family. The way he held his weathered hands directly at 10 and two as we drove ever so cautiously. Precious cargo ... I joke to myself.

My thoughts are interrupted as he responds in a jovial, carefree tone making me second guess how friendly my response was.

"I'm great! Can't complain. Kind of hard for me to ever have a bad day."

Nothing more, nothing less to stop me in my tracks and make me think about how simple and easy it is to let the inevitable "bad" occurrences that happen on a day-to-day basis, overshadow the good that we become blind to over time.

A late train, lack of sleep, spilled coffee, canceled plans, an argument with a loved one, a mistake made at work, unpaid bills, rainstorm with no umbrella, slow city walkers  — I could go on.

It's only when we pause for a moment, take a step back and look outside our own little worlds that we begin to notice the little things that we turn a blind eye to almost every single day.

An alarm clock reminding us that we have somewhere to be, giving us purpose.

The genuine kindness, eye contact and smile from the cashier as she sends you off saying, "Have a nice day." The lingering monthly bills that remind us we have a place to call home. Standing in front of an overflowing closet every morning-all the while claiming, "I have nothing to wear!" A bag heavy on our shoulder full of items to get us through. A perfect song playing at the perfect moment when words can't describe. Church bells in the distance, celebrating someone's favorite day. Light falling through trees on a pathway, empty of anyone but you.

Thunderstorms to wash everything clean. Laughter through tears when you realize it might just be okay — one of the most beautiful and raw emotions.

What I'm finding is that life is a landscape full of hills and choppy waters, and gratitude- even a little bit, is the wind at our back that keeps us moving. A life preserver following us around when "bad days" seem to drown your enthusiasm like a sinking boat. It's in practicing gratitude, especially when your feet seem to be stuck in the mud, that quietly wakes you up to the good. To help you realize and learn that when it comes down to it, my driver was right. Life may not be everything we hope for every day, but it sure as hell isn't bad... and that is one thing I know for sure.

 

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Emily Higgins is 27-year old living in Chicago who finds peace through writing, which she shares in hopes of others finding a connection. Learn more on her blog emilyhigg.com.

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This article is part of our series on the theme of Gratitude.

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