With the year coming to an end, it’s time to look back and reflect. It’s been a truly amazing year full of experiences and exciting trips in and outside of Korea, and I’ve learned so much along the way.

I once read the inspiring quote “It’s not happy people who are thankful, it’s thankful people who are happy”. Consequently, I’ve become more focused on feeling thankful this year. There are so many things that we just take for granted, without realizing how lucky we are to have them in our lives. I’ve made a habit of setting aside time each morning to write down what I’m thankful for. It may seem useless, but doing so in the morning reminds me throughout my day of all the amazing things that I have going on in my life. It’s a real mood-lifter – especially in winter time, and if you’re not doing it already, I urge you to give it a try. The beauty of the human mind is that it is only able to entertain one thought at a time. The more you entertain positive and thankful thoughts, the more you cultivate a happy mindset.

Aside from being thankful, practicing kindness and compassion is also extremely important. Korea was shocked yesterday upon learning that one of the country’s most beloved idols, Jonghyun from K-pop group Shinee, had committed suicide at the age of 27. The terrible news even reached the Danish newspapers. In his suicide note, Jonghyun wrote that he suffered from depression and self-hatred and couldn’t seem to get out of it, so leaving this world was the only option he had left.

It saddens me tremendously that someone so young, talented, and successful could become so desperate that he could only see one way out. It also makes me even more aware of the preciousness of each day, and how important it is to be thankful. Also, you never know what inner battles people are fighting, so always try to be as kind to others as possible.

Here’s my 2017 ‘thankful for’ list – feel free to share in the comments what makes you thankful ^^

  • I’m thankful for my family and my husband
  • I’m thankful for my awesome job and my sweet students
  • I’m thankful for my amazing friends
  • I’m thankful for my health and my ability to stay active
  • I’m thankful for my freedom
  • I’m thankful for my continued curiosity and desire to learn
  • I’m thankful for the amount of sunshine in Korea (despite the freezing temperatures)
  • I’m thankful for my warm winter clothes
  • I’m thankful for the friendliness I’m always met with in Korea
  • I’m thankful for living in an exciting city like Seoul
  • I’m thankful for all the technology that allows me to easily stay in contact with my loved ones back home

If I include minor (but still awesome) things like the variety of lip colors at Olive Young or the number of sales at Aritaum and Nature Republic, the smiles from the street vendor, and the kind comments from people around me, the list is practically endless.

Stay thankful, happy and healthy everyone! Be better today than you were yesterday. And strive to become even better tomorrow than you are today. No way but up!


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