I recently thought about all the good things in my life and how happy I am about them. I am so proud of myself too for managing all of it.

I sometimes tend to forget how much I really accomplished over the past few years because it becomes the new normal, but meeting others who are still struggling with certain issues and also remembering when I used to struggle helps to keep being grateful and not take it for granted.

I feel like I cannot talk about most of these in my real life or anywhere associated with the very little online presence I have, because it looks like bragging. Complaining and trauma dumping is normalized, but talking about positive things draws envy, anger, and negative competition. Or people might think it is a lie to build a brand, become an influencer, attract sponsors and followers and become famous. It's like only these kinds of people are allowed to display a perfect life now and reap the benefits; people want to follow them and keep up with them as a sort of motivation and interest in how this person's life will progress, but it's harder to stomach when it is one of the people you might know in real life.

And honestly, I have been noticing that the age range I am at right now (28-32) offers up a lot more unhappy and struggling people than before. It makes sense; a lot of people are now finishing their education and are struggling to see what's next or find jobs related to their field. Some others have been working their first job for a couple years now and are wondering whether to stay or go and how to move up the ladder, especially the ones who have been feeling stuck in their uni side jobs, like baristas or cashiers, and want something more now; feel compelled to, almost, because they think of their current job as transitional to something better, but what? For some others, their first real loves have just ended and it is hard to feel like you will ever find something like that again, even if you will. Some haven't dated much or at all, are currently single, and are scared that they will die alone similarly. They are embarrassed for being single while they see happy couples everywhere, knowing some are already planning for a house, marriage, children. The first marriages and children are happening now, and they feel so behind. At this age, you have likely become more realistic about your dreams and goals and have a pile of unfinished projects and paths not taken behind you, days and weeks of new promises and resolutions, and you're a bit more tired. You're not as starry eyed anymore about this being your new year, new me. You know by now you won't simply find the willpower overnight to become someone who is going to the gym every day or eat clean consistently. You may realize just how far away the things you wanna afford are, or how impossible some career paths are. You have some regrets. You start to realize that your looks likely won't be better than this; no more growing into your body, glowing up via age. You're also at the age of health scares becoming more serious and likely to result in something. People in your life pass away.

So I think it's a tough time and I don't want to talk about my life in front of these people because it feels awkward and it would be hurtful to them. I still feel like sharing it somewhat, so it won't just rest in my diary. I have wondered why - why share it online, semi-anonymously? Why is it not enough for my own eyes?

I still don't know. Maybe sometimes I still hope it could be interesting to someone, or useful, or nice to connect to someone with at some point in the future. Maybe I want there to be a sign that I was indeed here, alive. It's also easier to find than in between lots of journal entries. Maybe I want to share something beautiful and nice in the world even if it is generally frowned upon to do so, especially when the people around you will most likely lament their problems in this regard as a response. Happy in a relationship? They will talk about their dating app struggles. Talking about feeling beautiful? They will talk about how they feel ugly and undesirable. Talking about your job? They will complain about the job market. And I don't fault them for it at all, it is simply the truth.

Anyway, I have been really grateful for my job. It's the highest paying I can manage with my qualifications right now, together with nice benefits like free vaccinations, free eye checks, home office, a holiday bonus, a lot of PTO and a really supportive and competent boss. I think overall, except for one or two that are dealing with their own issues, people see me as competent and trust me. I am also happy to recently have made more of a connection with people there. I'm also proud of myself for co-developing the first queer advocacy group at that place and also being in the environmental committee, making sure the place of employment is environmentally friendly and audited by 2025. I've recently been promoted to its board, which is there to sign off on the things developed by the committee. I think past me would have never thought I could have such a role and be so recognized in a workplace. I've also got the year performance-based bonus for the second time in a row.

I'm glad that I am so safe and secure there and have a path in front of me, even when my studies that I do on the side fail. I'm so grateful that I don't have to worry about having to find a job right now and that I can focus completely on my studies and my hobbies while not working. I am so grateful I can afford (time + money) to study a degree on the side.

Secondly, I am really grateful for my girlfriend. This has been my best and longest relationship so far and I want to marry her. I feel truly adored and cared for by her, so secure. She's doing everything for me and really doting on me. She's really proud of me and showing me off. She tries to surprise me often with something nice, like flowers, snacks, poems, little stuff I said I wanted/needed, cooking surprise dinners for me, doing my dishes when I am at work, picking me up somewhere with her car, massaging me. While this should be common, I know by hearing from others and thinking of my past relationships that it isn't necessarily, so I am always extra grateful for it and of course return it. I'm glad we are so compatible in our values, goals, needs and sex life.

I am also really grateful that I have the money to spoil her a little bit. I really enjoy making her happy with that here and there. Paying for her groceries, ordering her some food she loves, replacing her old and failing electronics with better ones, getting her some other stuff she needs, ordering flowers to her work place, etc.. and hopefully soon I can find some amazing ring that she adores.

I am also grateful that I can afford the groceries I like, even more expensive stuff like organic things, vegan replacement products, matcha powder and similar things. I came from a family where we couldn't afford much and especially groceries was always an issue, but now I don't have to check the price tag, which is so privileged. I'm glad that I can enjoy grocery shopping and get a little treat for myself when I want to, and not have to put something back. I am extremely grateful too for the vast selection I have at any of the supermarkets in my area. When you think about human history, it's crazy to see these vast stores full of food. This has to be the best time to be alive for someone in my area.

In general, I am grateful that I am vegan. I know a lot of people want to be vegan, but they don't have the same options I do. Fresh produce can be expensive, in some countries even usually cheap things like rice, beans, lentils, beans and potatoes are. Their prices for replacement products like oat milk or pea protein meats are through the roof. They might live with people who won't accommodate that, or they themselves lack the discipline and willpower to undo years of habits and make the switch consistently, similar to weight loss goals. Making the switch isn't easy depending on where you are geographically and what your circumstances are, so I am grateful I was able to make the switch 5 years ago and stick to it. I'm proud of myself for that. I see others who struggle with that and how they react to me in regards to this topic, and I am glad that I don't have to be disappointed in myself or deal with any guilt or envy in this regard. I am similarly grateful for being in an environment that makes it easy or easier to not drink alcohol, smoke or do other drugs; it's not standard that I can just forget that these aren't the norm most of the time. No one is pressuring me or constantly exposing me to that. I love to surround myself with people behave similarly and it's working out.

I'm grateful for my apartment. It is spacious, cheap for its size and location and I fixed it up great after the tenant before me left it in a really disgusting state. I saw something awful and made it great with a lot of cleaning, replacement, white paint, my furniture and the furniture yet to come. I really feel at home here and I am grateful that I can afford living on my own; I don't have to share this. I have my own safe space away from everyone, control who can come in at what time, and falling out with anyone doesn't affect my living situation. Too many people get kicked out by parents, friends and partners, or breakups and other things make living where they are awkward or even unsafe. I used to live like that twice and I'm glad I don't have to anymore. I'm independent and so proud of myself for working so hard to be able to be this.

I feel down about some of my health issues sometimes, even hopeless, but measured with what others have to deal with, it is nothing. I don't need surgeries, the medication I have to take has very little side effects, and it is cheaper than what could be. I have beaten a lot of illnesses, I have very little lasting effects, and I am mostly recovered from most of my mental health issues. That's very lucky and also because I worked so hard on improving and changing anything I could, working hard to identify physical and mental triggers for any issues I have. I have learned to take care of myself, know myself well, and to spot any signs. I'm lucky to have a strong, supportive partner who is patient and will accept me no matter what, which helps immensely. Lots of physical and mental issues people have become much better in a better environment, people and money, so all this isn't just my work, but the advantage of the great environment and opportunities I have been given.

I am also beautiful. It's hard to recognize that sometimes and my perception of it waxes and wanes, but in general, I was dealt some good cards. There are still things I would change if I could, but that is normal, I guess. It could have been much, much worse. I have a thin body and do not struggle to keep weight off, and I am grateful to not be obese against my wishes, like so many people struggle with. I can walk and run, I exercise, I am in a walkable city with great public transport, I have access to better food. I have access to great supplements and skincare. I was blessed with looking years younger than I actually am. I have beaten my hair loss. My hair is long now and I don't have any bald spots. Being pretty affords me opportunities because people perceive me as nicer, more competent and trustworthy, and I am more likely to get things for free. People that I had feelings for always reciprocated these feelings. I have never been rejected for a lack of romantic or sexual feelings. It was always easy for me to get into a relationship, whenever I wanted to I met someone and it worked out. I never had to worry about people liking me back. My advances for sex were never rejected. Looking at other people, I can see how lucky I am in this regard. I can be single by choice, not because it just happened to be this way against my will. I know that no matter what happens, I will always be able to find love.

That is the first part; maybe soon I will write about some other things I am grateful for.