28 Things Americans Take for Granted—But Shouldn’t

Katie Sweeney

If you’ve never traveled outside of the United States, it’s easy to feel dissatisfied with the trivialities of everyday life. However, once you visit a foreign country—be it Spain, Peru, China, India, or wherever your wanderlust takes you—your eyes immediately open, and it’s difficult for your perspective not to change. I try to leave the country at least once every two years because it provides me with a fresh perspective on my life at home.

There are so many things that I, and we as Americans in general, take for granted. We are truly lucky to live in such a beautiful and free world, so why are we unsatisfied and ungrateful? Today is Saturday, so be happy that it’s the weekend and stop for a minute to enjoy all that you do have that many people in the world do not. What am I referring to? Here are 28 things, some comical and others serious, that Americans take for granted—but shouldn’t.

  1. Running water.
  2. Hot running water.
  3. Electricity!
  4. Grocery stores stocked with food.
  5. Corner stores that are open 24/7.
  6. Stores that are open on Sundays. 
  7. Toilet paper and clean bathrooms.
  8. Sidewalks and functioning paved roads.
  9. Cars, public transportation, and Uber.
  10. The college experience.
  11. Drugstores.
  12. Tampons and feminine hygiene products. 
  13. The freedom of choice. Choices are everywhere, from restaurants to eat at to clothing stores to shop at.
  14. Red Solo cups.
  15. Three meals a day.
  16. A shower that works.
  17. A roof (that doesn’t leak) over your head.
  18. A bed (and not a clay or soil floor) to sleep on.
  19. A cellphone.
  20. A room or space to call your own. 
  21. A job.
  22. A backyard that isn’t filled with street or safari animals.
  23. Hospitals to go to in an emergency.
  24. Garbage trucks.
  25. Televised sporting events.
  26. Public schools.
  27. Starbucks.
  28. The military, police, and firefighters. 

Remember: “Learn to appreciate what you have before time makes you appreciate what you had.”

Want to practice more gratitude in your daily life? Start keeping a gratitude journal.

What do you take for granted but shouldn’t?

Explore: Gratitude, America

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