As we go through our days, I realized that we all have countdowns, whether we realize them or not. Most of us get through our week looking forward to the weekend, or go through our day just so we can go home and go shopping. We rush through life, trying not to get too involved, trying to make it all happen faster, because, more than anything, we hate doing unpleasant things.

On the bus ride home today, all I could think was, "Thank God the day is over. Four more days until the weekend." It was all my mind was focused on-- soon enough, after I just got through this week, I would have two days to myself. After this week, I would be a week closer to Christmas vacation.

At that point, I stopped and I thought about what I was saying to myself. I started to contemplate how I live my life.

I have my own countdowns going on. Four days until the weekend. Twenty days until Christmas. 117 days until school's out. 119 days until MLB Opening Day. And I realized that I'm moving through my life, hoping to just get through it, so that I can get to those days.

But today I realized that it should not be like that. I'm wasting away my life doing that-- every day is a gift. I constantly tell others that, but find myself not treating it like that myself. It's nice to have days to look forward to, yes, but I need to keep in mind that those days only last twenty-four hours. The rest of my life, the days I'm wasting away, are going to be gone, and I won't be able to retrieve them.

My life hasn't been easy of late, and life isn't always peachy keen. However, there are good moments. Life is a big feast. You aren't always going to have your favorite food; sometimes you're forced to eat your peas. But there's a reason you have to eat the peas. They'll make you stronger, healthier, and a bigger, better person.

The same is true of life. There are going to be tough times-- I promise you that. But those hard times are only there to make you stronger and a better person. There is a reason that they're thrust upon you at unexpected or unwanted times. You have to take the good with the bad, and you'll get through them both.

There's no point in waiting for something that's happen in one day and not pay attention to the other 364 days of the year. Each day is a gift from God.

I'm going to make a personal goal of either thinking about, putting in a journal, writing down somewhere, or just making sure I mentally note at least one good thing about each day of my life.

It's not always going to be easy. Maybe I'll be in a bad mood, or the day was just boring. But it's critical to think of the blessings I've been given in my every day life to keep me in check, to understand that my life is a fragile thing that could be taken away at any second.

When I first started thinking of the good thing today, I couldn't come up with anything. The day was that boring. Or so I thought. Then I thought about how my makeup work was easy. How I don't have to worry about taking a geometry quiz because it's done. How I was able to get my final copy of my Spanish paper almost completely done in my study hall in health. How I'm lucky that I actually had a study hall in health today.

Then I thought about other things besides school. Like how blessed I am to have snow on the ground. I'll complain about the cold sometimes, sure, but the truth is, I don't know what I would do without it. I would miss the snow terribly if I moved away to a place that never got any snow, like Phoenix. Winter is my second favorite season, next to Autumn.

And I still haven't looked at the biggest picture: the fact that I'm alive and breathing right now. I haven't been in a car crash, I'm not fatally wounded, and as far as I know, I don't have a life threatening illness. I live in a safe town and go to a safe school. Some people see GC as being protected. Protected, maybe, but moreover, safe. We're lucky to live in a place such as GC.

Trust me, my life isn't a bowl of cherries. I have an English paper due December 16, and I don't have near enough information yet. I have a vocabulary test on Thursday in biology, and I only have 41 of 77 words memorized. Mrs. Cardille still isn't back in social studies-- Mrs. Courtney subbed today. We just switched freshman studies classes-- I have art, at which I am horrible. There are still some parts in the concert band music that I can't play, and our concert is December 18. I have $500 due for my band trip to Florida on Thursday, and guess what? My family doesn't have 500 extra dollars. We're doing verbs in Spanish, and it's not necessarily easy. Christmas is coming up, and I'm being pulled for money left and right. My secret sister has suffered without a present for months. I don't know if you've all gotten the picture yet, but I can't afford any of that. I have no clue how my family is making it through all of this.

But I'm alive. I'm living and breathing. I have a home to come home to, with plumbing, hot water, and heating. That's more than millions out there can say. I have clothes to wear every day, and both of my parents own a vehicle. I have the privilege of not only having education, but free education. I have access to the library, school and public, and I have a computer. Knowledge is at the edge of my fingertips. I can attend church, and I can worship freely and however I please. I have a television, and my own room, and a television in my own room. I have food to eat every day and friends I can talk to when I'm in need.

I'm not lacking anywhere in my life. I have more than millions around the world.

I encourage anyone that comes across this to think about it. I know that so many of us waste away our lives, waiting for Christmas, our birthday, the last day of the school year, our driver's license, graduation, marriage, children, careers. But it's all pointless if you waste the time that it takes to get there. The last thing you want is to look back ten years from now and regret not living for today.