If I say that my life has been a roller coaster since my parents decided to consummate their marriage more than four decades ago, it would be a very fair statement. Let me also add that I only rode a roller coaster once in my life, and it was a mini ride, yet the experience was enough to make me throw up the instant it stopped.

Have I experienced moments where I wished I had not been invited to add to the ever-growing world population? Countless. Have I hoped for an escape time and again? Many times. Have I experienced uncontained joy and hunger for life? Definitely! I have drowned, floated, swam like a pro, and fearlessly dived more often than not. My life has been like a pinata, a mixed bag of desirable and not-so-anticipated candies that I have been hitting blindfolded, rushing to pick my choice of goodies and missing out and complaining or settling for the not-so-yummy ones.

Perhaps like everyone else, I practiced gratitude on a day when life seemed rosy and full of rainbow colours. I kicked and screamed and protested, oscillating between self-blame and other-blaming on days when I felt I was falling into an abyss of pain that threatened to never leave my side like a trusted companion. I threw myself pity parties; I got stuck into narratives, helpless and hopeless, moving and yet not moving. I fell and got up every time, sometimes reaching out for a hand waiting to pick me up and other times on my own. Yet, for a long while now, as I processed a life well-lived, growing internally by leaps and bounds, I forgot to appreciate the pinata bag I had chosen to break.

I could not remember the last time I felt gratitude for existing. For having my place in this universe that is exclusively reserved for me. A place that puts the entire universe out there for me to choose which roads I want to travel, which homes I want to build, the people I want in my circle of care, and so much more. In moments of utter desperation and bleakness when all seemed dark ahead, why could I not turn around to see the light I had left behind that was waiting around the corner? Why couldn’t I feel the power I have built within me, the ability to survive so much more, and yes, survival is the best colour that suits my complexion?

Is existing less than a gift itself? To touch and be touched by so many lives every day. The opportunity to discover and taste life in unimaginable ways. Just like that, on a random day in a moment that suddenly arrived and caught me unawares, I suddenly felt something emerging within me, and gratitude filled every nook and corner of my being. Gratitude for existing, for breathing, and for a life with endless doors that are waiting for me to knock at, and some will open, and some will remain shut. Pain is inevitable and, in one way or another, will keep visiting like an uninvited guest, but can I allow it to sabotage my life that is and cannot be defined by painful realities?

So, I will wear these wounds with pride because they have defined me in profound ways, they were meant for me, and their capacity to heal is as powerful as their potential to hurt.

With gratitude comes grace, and so with a heart full of gratitude for the opportunity given to me to offer my two cents on life that I was selected to participate in, I am so grateful to mark my existence in this world and make a difference knowingly or unknowingly.

“Wear gratitude like a cloak, and it will feed every corner of your life.” Rumi.