Gratitude can come from the most unexpected places.

When I was in my late teens, I remember hopping on my bicycle and quickly pedaling almost 15 km to meet up with a buddy of mine.

We’d hang out at the mall, grab a bite to eat, shoot some pool, then head back to his place to sleep for a few hours.

All went as planned, except the last part.

After having a rather heated discussion with his dad, he moved out.

And he was super-stoked to show me his new place.

I was less than enthused to find out his new place was under a bridge.

We locked our bikes to a nearby fence and then climbed up and positioned ourselves on top of an approximately 8-foot x 8-foot surface, under the bridge.

This surface was several feet above the ground, and there was not much room for our two bodies to be positioned – other than in a seated-fetal-like position.

We were protected from the rain and the wind, but that really was it for advantages.

Most of my night was in 5-minute pockets of sleep.

I kept waking up, worried that I might stretch out and fall down in the middle of the night.

This experience gave me a greater appreciation for how good we really have it.

Years later, when all I had was a sofa to sleep on, I happily slept soundly and comfortably through the night.

The last time a global survey was attempted – by the United Nations in 2005 – an estimated 100 million people were homeless worldwide.

That means that there are roughly 100 million people sleeping in alleys, park benches, tunnels, and, yes, some sleeping under bridges.

When you have a moment of self-pity while lying in your bed, stop for a moment, reflect on your life, and be grateful.

Things could be much worse.

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