Count Your Blessings

Today, I was walking past the beautiful lake on my university campus in Madrid and this thought occurred to me: ‘I am blessed’. There are times when I feel miserable about my life and all the missing pieces that can never be found. It is much easier to concentrate on your misery and let it conquer your mind, instead of creating your happiness and focusing on the little good things in your life. As humans, we are more likely to see what we do not have – but it is worth making the effort and noticing everything that we have.

There comes the question: what are my blessings? I’ve been thinking about the countless answers during the whole day. It might be a cliche, but here is the first one: I am alive, I am healthy, and my life is not expected to end soon. I do not have to count my days and I can believe that there are many left for me. It is within my power to make those days matter.

My second blessing is having my family and knowing they are doing well. It is far from a perfect family, though, and not everyone is as happy as I wish them to be. I observe and create a vision for my future – what to look for, and what to avoid. Despite all the mistakes and all the flaws, I do have my family, and I can call them whenever I want, and say ‘I love you’, and expect to hear it back. The only one I will never be able to call again, is my grandfather but I prefer to keep the good memories and live my life in such a way that he would say ‘I’m proud of my girl’.

I am blessed to have the opportunity to study abroad and move from one country to another. I can explore diverse cultures and broaden my horizons. Bulgaria, the Netherlands and Spain are three completely different countries, each of them – amazing in its unique way. I did not travel enough back in Holland, and I will definitely change that once my Erasmus in Madrid is over. And while I’m here, I will not stay at home, feeling alone or being scared to find the world on my own. Any time an opportunity appears, I say ‘yes’ – and get more dots to connect.

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Universidad Europea de Madrid

I can also meet people who inspire me and are there for me when I need to be appreciated and loved for who I am. These are people with dreams, and ambitions. One way or another, they motivate me to find myself and discover my talents, they support me and make me believe in who I am. I am blessed to have found those guys who taught me a lot about life.

In my high school years, I was afraid to rely on people. I had friends, but never truly revealed myself in front of them. They did not know much about my fears, about my weaknesses, about me. I did not let them connect with me, and I partially regret that. I did the very same mistake during my first year in the Netherlands.

When I received my acceptance letter, it seemed to me as a ticket to a better life. What I did not realize back then, was that wherever I went, I would stay the same. People do not change, moving from one place to another. They remain just the way they are, no matter how far they run away. I thought I would be more confident and more open to people, but things did not turn this way – I distanced myself from my flatmates, missed a lot of opportunities to enjoy my freshmen year of university, and almost ruined myself, thinking about all the things I did not have, about all the dreams that never came true. I felt completely alone – but I never actually was. Although I did not realize it, there were people who cared for me and stood by my side in my worst moments. They helped me bring the pieces back together, and sometimes this is the most important blessing of all.

I am blessed, aren’t I?

I have my memories, both good and bad. I have my lessons, hard and easy. I can drive a car (even in Madrid, and believe me, this is true blessing!). I have met people here, with whom I can correct my previous mistakes. I have been loved. I have loved. I have been happy. I have been hurt. I write poetry, and I have my little Illie.co brand. I have had experiences that have enriched me as an individual; and I strive to gain more, to learn more, to discover more.

I am blessed. Are you?

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