Before now I've always comforted and reassured myself that I'm allowed to feel really crap and depressed sometimes, in spite of the horrible things happening all over the world. I’ve told myself that it’s all relative and it’s human nature to complain. We all think our lives are crap at some point, whether they are or not. I have to live my life as well as I can and I can't do anything about what's going on in the rest of the world. Bad stuff happens, life goes on, right?
Then Gaddafi started acting like a genocidal maniac in Libya and Japan was engulfed in a horrific earthquake and tsunami. And something changed...
Over the last few days, listening to news of the awful things happening across the world, I've started to really appreciate how lucky I am. Yes, my life has ups and downs. Yes, exams and coursework deadlines are stressful. Yes, my family life is hard occasionally. But when I think of the poor people living under the vile rule of Gaddafi, or the people who've lost their houses, families and friends because of the tsunami in Japan, I am SO SO lucky to live the way I do.
I have an amazing life. I have the best parents I could wish for, a wonderful brother, an amazing extended family and fun, supportive friends. I live in big house, in a pretty well off area. I go to an excellent school and am getting a brilliant education. On the whole, my life is wonderful and I have no right to complain about it. I may be having a hard time at school, but nothing lasts and it'll all be over in a few months. I may occasionally have a difficult evening with my brother, but that's no ones fault and it could be a lot worse. I may be stressed and feeling down about myself but it's nothing compared to what other people go through.
I think sometimes, in the midst of cuts, Eastenders and mortgages, we, the British, forget how fortunate we are to live a) in a democracy - however idiotic the current government is - and b) in an area of the earth that is not prone to natural disasters.
We complain to no end about cuts, the economy and the failings of the coalition - but does anyone wonder what it would be like to live under an unbalanced genocidal dictator, or what it would be like to be murdered for trying to get your opinion heard? Last year we complained endlessly about snow and the ash cloud - but did anyone look past the annoyance of having flights delayed to consider what it would be like to live at the edge of a tectonic plate or to have their lives, houses and families regularly ripped apart by hurricanes, earthquakes and tsunamis?
I'm not sure many did. The state of the economy is one thing, but people don't die on mass as a result of a recession. People aren't shot for standing up for what they believe in. I know things are bad in Britain at the moment, and we're not likely to get out of this mess for years with our current government, but at least the majority of us have a home, a family, and food on the table. Times are hard, but think how you’d feel if you woke up to find your family gone because they'd been kidnapped, tortured and murdered for questioning the government. Think how you'd feel if you woke up to find your entire house had been torn from the ground and swept away by a mass of water or an earthquake. Think how you'd feel if you lost everything and everyone you'd ever loved, through no fault of your own. Personally, the thought terrifies me more than I can say.
That's what's happening right now, thousands of miles away. We can't do much to stop it, but at the very least, we should be thankful for what we’ve got.