Gratitude, Not Guilt

The last time I was on a sailboat was with my Uncle Teddy, at 2 years old, and I was sick the entire time. Needless to say, I had no idea what to expect when my mom told me we were going on a sailing trip in the Virgin Islands.

It didn’t take long for me to see why she called it “the trip of a lifetime.”

It truly was.

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But before I left, whenever someone asked me about it, I always felt a sense of guilt. I would tell some long, awkward story about why I was going instead of just being excited and happy that I had the opportunity to go. I always felt weird and wanted to justify my trip for some reason.

My sister, Em, and I talked a lot about this while we were sailing. It’s so easy to feel guilt. We had two people waiting on us the entire time (who were super awesome by the way!) It was something we don’t experience much outside the occasional trip to a local restaurant. We know we’re extremely fortunate to be able to do something like this.

But guilt is such a negative feeling. It’s not helpful. These are the cards we’ve been dealt and it’s up to us what we make of them. The important thing, I think, is to recognize how lucky we are and show it as much as we can.

So, that’s why Em and I decided to be grateful. We constantly thanked our mom for giving us this amazing gift. We complimented our hilarious captain and amazing chef whenever we got the chance. They both worked so hard and certainly deserved it. We did our best to get everything we could out of this awesome adventure.

And I think I’m a better person for it.

Because when I changed my shift in thinking, I let myself enjoy it. I chose to be happy. I even started to spread happiness at any stranger I encountered no matter their disposition (shoutout to Em again for helping inspire that!)

Plus, I know the experiences we had were more incredible because I chose to see them that way.

We took our time to eat the delicious food we had each day. We had the chance to meditate on top of the boat while the sun came up. We snorkeled until our fingers were pruney and our masks left a mark on our face. We laughed with family until tropical drinks came out of our nose.

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Now I’m back home and I’m feeling more grateful than ever. Grateful that I could not only experience this, but do it with my crazy, loving, beautiful family.

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