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Mariam Olafuyi: 6 Things We Sometimes Forget to Be Grateful For



Mariam Olafuyi PhotoI won’t say I have a “gratefulness problem”, I just think I’m always so focused on the next thing I want to achieve that I don’t take time out to reminisce on the awesomeness around me. I’m not going to pretend that I don’t have many things to complain about, but for every complaint I have, I probably have something to be grateful for. AI’m writing this because I want to help you remember. I want you to remember that the presence of dark clouds does not negate the existence of the sun, and the tears of the present don’t abort future laughter. Here are the things I am grateful for and I hope these spur you to remember some things you should be grateful for.

I don’t know about you, but I am grateful for my experiences. I am grateful for those days I successfully proved myself to the world and the other days when the world proved too much for me to handle. I am grateful for the days I spent in Abuja with my mother, trying to understand why JAMB did not release my result. I am grateful for when I aced my A-Levels instead and chose the University of Ibadan over the University of Lagos. I am grateful for sleepless nights at the office and the experience of studying law at Cambridge. I am grateful for how life disrupts my best-laid plans like an overindulged toddler messing with a new found toy.

I remember the days of naivety when I believed everyone in the world was about flowers, unicorns, balloons and goodness, and I am grateful for the experiences that revealed the desperation of the human situation. I am grateful for the unexpected but enduring friendships that were formed over buttermint sweet and kopiko in the university library, and I am grateful for having experienced a broken heart… maybe more than once sha! I am grateful for these experiences that have added up like a jigsaw to make the uniqueness that is me, and despite the good and the bad, I realise that I won’t be me if all these experiences haven’t aligned.

Thank you Miss. Opportunity. I can’t help but conclude that you are female. The way you glide into my life with subtle grace is nothing short of beautiful, and the way you disappear in an instant is always breathtaking. I miss you a lot though, but I am always preparing for your next coming. I tidy my house, fix up a meal and put comfortable pillows in place so you can stay a while. Thank you for showing up at unexpected times and in strange places. I wish I knew how to predict you a little more, but you are a lovely woman in red, who comes and goes as she pleases. I am thankful for the many times you have come and I will be prepared for your next visit, my lovely Miss Opportunity.

Ride or Die Friends
I am thankful for my “ride or die friends”. The ones that have heard me complain about a particular problem fifteen times, yet still give me advice like they are listening to the problem for the first time. The friends that tell me to quickly remove a picture from Instagram because they think it is tacky, and the ones who actually select the pictures that should be posted online. Thank you for indulging me when I’m driving around Lagos in a bid to satisfy my ube or boli craving.
The friends that pray for me and pray with me, and the friends that cry just because I am crying. The friends that stay awake in crazy timezones to listen to my latest harebrained scheme, and the ones that point out typos when I publish a new post. How won’t I be grateful for the friends who correct me with love and accept me without condemnation irrespective of how much I mess up? What about the friends that believe in me so fiercely that I sometimes wonder if they overate my potential? My life is richer because of you, and even if I don’t say it often (because tough girl) I am so grateful for you.

I quite struggle to categorise you my dear dreams, because you come in various forms. The dreams I have when I am asleep and the ones I must pursue when I am awake. You are somehow like water and ice and vapour at the same time. Sometimes you are so real I can touch you, at other times, the passion for you consumes me like a flood and at other times, I find it hard to believe you are there. Morphing into yourself and into me at the same time. I am thankful for you, my dear dreams, because you keep me going, and even when you are elusive, you find a way to remind me that you are still there, taking on a new form. So thank you.

I am grateful for forgiveness. For all the friends who forgive me every year when I forget their birthdays and all the friends who are never upset if I don’t keep in touch. For all the friends that forgive me when I get unnecessarily cranky or make decisions without considering their input. For the friend I forgot to congratulate on a new job, or who I was unable to visit in a time of need. I am grateful for forgiveness because it presents an opportunity to right a wrong. It is not compulsory to forgive, but you still do and I’m grateful for this.

Being Human
Isn’t it wonderful to be human? Imagine the pressure on poor superman and superwoman to save the world from itself. Isn’t it wonderful to just revel in the fact that it’s okay not to be perfect? It’s okay to eat that extra piece of cake, get jealous, be lazy and even discontent. It’s okay to catch myself in the middle of an unsavoury thought and not berate my very existence because I recognise that I am a work in progress, and perfection lies somewhere at the end of progress, but then, progress never ends. So I’m happy to be human, faults and all, work in progress and all, getting better and better with each passing moment. Such joy.

These are a few things I am grateful for. I hope this got you to think a little bit. There is so much more to life than what you see, how you feel or how well you perceive you are doing. Look around you a bit more and look inside you a lot more, and you will discover that there are so many things you too should be grateful for.
Please share anything you now remember to be grateful for!

Mariam Olafuyi (code name “May”) is a commercial lawyer, Cambridge grad, writer, speaker, mentor, life enthusiast, action girl, and street-savvy-efiko. Find May at where she shares her thoughts, inspires, writes fiction and provides various writing-related services. Twitter: @maytermor4sis Instagram: @maytermor4sis Email: [email protected]


  1. @edDREAMZ

    July 19, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    DREAMS.. She called my name…. My fans…

    • Mariam Olafuyi

      July 19, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      @edDREAMZ nice to meet you too, maybe when you return from Jupiter! Lol.

  2. Dolapo

    July 19, 2016 at 5:04 pm

    I am extremely grateful for sound mind, and peace of mind in my marriage, just heard about a lady of my age bracket with bipolar and has been hospitalized for a while. I relaxed with all of my plenty request and took out time to thank God non stop.

    • Mariam Olafuyi

      July 19, 2016 at 9:42 pm

      @Dolapo, I think we underestimate the value of peace of mind. No amount of money in the bank can buy it, contrary to what the media tries to make us believe. Our perspective on our needs/wants definitely changes when we step back to see the abundance we already have.

  3. Jeje Love

    July 19, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Interesting and highly inspirational

    • Mariam Olafuyi

      July 19, 2016 at 9:43 pm

      Thank you Jeje Love.

  4. K

    July 19, 2016 at 5:56 pm

    I am grateful for the gift of second chances. I am also grateful for open doors when I’m at my wits’ end and totally hopeless. Ultimately, I’m grateful for health and life. Great post, Mariam!

    • Mariam Olafuyi

      July 19, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      Health is important. You don’t appreciate how much work your nose does until you have a nasty cold!

      I think second chances are an important thing to be grateful for because they are difficult to come across.

  5. Mma

    July 19, 2016 at 6:47 pm

    This really touched me. Thanks!!

    • Mariam Olafuyi

      July 19, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      Glad to hear that Mma. Doesn’t Mma mean beautiful?

  6. meelikey

    July 19, 2016 at 6:57 pm

    Gratitude to You my Jehovah,for life

    • Mariam Olafuyi

      July 19, 2016 at 9:46 pm

      Shaking tambourine with you! I’m grateful for life too.

  7. Lina

    July 19, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    I’m grateful to God for the past, present and the future I’m yet to see. I live amazed!!!

    • Mariam Olafuyi

      July 19, 2016 at 9:47 pm

      Lina. Yup. I’m grateful and excited for the future. The best is yet to come.

  8. Hopefully

    July 19, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Great one Mariam!
    I recently started a Gratitude Journal after reading a LifeHack post on how to spend your free time without your phone…
    On my first two entries, I penned how I am most grateful for my parents, their support is out-of-this-world. I doubt that I could have come this far without them. And how I pray to take care of them.
    Page 2 captured how grateful I am to be alive…yes, alive. This is because I have the opportunity to live, try again, make mistakes, correct my mistakes, contribute something to the human race, take care of my parents, heal from a broken heart, survive the odds and so much more.
    So your post is a reminder that I have not made a recent entry into my journal, and my entry tonight will be about how grateful I am for my friends…
    Thanks Mariam.

    • Mariam Olafuyi

      July 19, 2016 at 9:54 pm


      A gratitude journal will go a long way to solve my “gratefulness problem” but I’m so bad at keeping journals. I’m trying to keep a prayer journal now. I hope I do better with that.

      It was a bit tough for me to write this article because there are a few things I also wanted to add, like parents, but I was a bit mindful so that my list of things to be grateful for won’t remind someone of something/ someone they have lost.

      On parents! Since I started paying bills, I have grown to appreciate my mother a whole lot. She’s an amazon, a warrior, bae, superwoman and everything. I appreciate her more as I understand how tough it must have been for her. I pray I’ll be able to do as much for her as I desire.

      Make that entry into the journal okay. Actually, make the entry for two of us .Lol.

  9. Adanma

    July 19, 2016 at 9:39 pm

    Thank you Marian. I most definitely needed this! Love.

    • Mariam Olafuyi

      July 20, 2016 at 9:50 pm

      My new bestie. Glad this was helpful!

  10. Ife

    July 19, 2016 at 10:57 pm

    Awesome post May! It is essential to stop, pause, and be grateful. Thank you for this 🙂

  11. Temi

    July 20, 2016 at 12:46 am

    Wow! This is an awesome post. I’m a big fan of gratitude and I teach my clients about it but unfortunately I’ve been missing out on my daily gratitude because of my busy schedule. Recently, I went through a series by Patricia Shirer titled Breathe and at the end of the 4th session she suggested a daily activity for her readers to find 14 minutes out of their 24 hours to breathe and express gratitude. That series really touched me because all I think about on daily basis is what I need to achieve our what I need to do for a client or something different to do for a client who is not exhibiting the change needed. I really don’t take time out to be grateful for past achievements in life and at work. So taking 14 minutes everyday to show gratitude for life, family, accomplishments and even my clients helps me to breathe and get through stressful days.
    Thank you Mariam for all you do. You inspire me always.

  12. Hephzibah

    July 20, 2016 at 3:28 am

    Thank you Mariam for sharing this article. I’m grateful for so many things. Most of all, I’m grateful for hope and for my faith.

    • Mariam Olafuyi

      July 20, 2016 at 9:51 pm

      Faith keeps us grounded. When the wind blows an anchor remains sure. Thanks for reading babe!

  13. Karonwi

    July 20, 2016 at 6:07 am

    I’m grateful for my friends (you included)!!! I’m grateful for the many opportunities I get even if I don’t make use of them all the time.
    Thank you for this reminder May!

    • Mariam Olafuyi

      July 20, 2016 at 9:52 pm

      Thank you Karonwi. I’m grateful that you are grateful for me (tacky, lol)
      Some opportunities are just mindblowing, you have to ask yourself “How did this happen?” I’m learning to seize as many as I can and also create opportunities for others.

  14. J

    July 20, 2016 at 9:07 am

    It’s so difficult for me to be greatful, there is nothing to be thankful for, my mum never cared for me, like I was abandoned. Started fending for myself at age 17, she couldn’t even provide food for me, (basic need) resorted to prostitution at a young age (runs) she knew but turn a blind eye, or the face that I am paying my school fees, putting a roof over my head, paying bills et yet things seems so difficult, no job, no business, no money, just living like a loser. I don’t want to sleep with any man for money but how will I survive. Life is stagnant no one wants to assist without expecting anything in return. God help me not to commit sucide, that’s the only thing I think about. Sometimes I feel like I’m cursed, I am never happy like there is a dark cloud over my head.

    • Mobi

      July 20, 2016 at 10:19 am

      There are things right now that you can be grateful for: let me help you 1. You have an education; you are able to express your self, you think clearly and pen down these thoughts
      2. You are alive, and are still breathing at the moment, so that God your creator hasn’t taken your life by himself, it means he must have a plan for your today/many tomorrows.
      3. That while you were taking care of your self(doing what you did) you did not get infected by any deadly disease. You survived that as well.
      4. You have access to the internet so you are able to read and can get inspired by people that went through a rough patch and survived.

      Just hang in there, stay with God, he has a plan and you will see soon. You will write that next BellaNaija article about how brilliant life has become.

    • Mariam Olafuyi

      July 20, 2016 at 11:28 pm

      Thank you Mobi. Thank you for reaching out to J.

    • Mariam Olafuyi

      July 20, 2016 at 11:27 pm

      I had to take special time out to respond to you.

      You have the one thing that many people lack- a conscience. Be grateful for that. You have a good sense of what you think is right. Despite the fact that things have been tough and for some, that’s enough justification to do anything, you have not justified any of your actions, in fact, you sound sorry for them. I’m not sure I’m articulating this well, but please bear with me.

      Whether or not you realise it, you know that life can be better, which is why you haven’t settled for what you have/ the situation you are currently in. Despite what you are going through, you are acutely aware of the fact that it doesn’t have to be this way, which is why you have said, ” I don’t want to sleep with any man for money but how will I survive.” You want to do things in a legitimate way, and trust me, that is the first step out of where you are.

      In addition, you opened up! You opened up to faceless people on the internet who hide behind nicknames. You opened up to us all because you are willing to get help. Sharing tough issues like this is not easy, even under the cloak of anonymity, because the words take on a life of their own when you write them down.

      If you don’t mind, you can send me a mail at [email protected]. I’ll respond and see how I can be of help, even if that means connecting you with a good support system.

      Please don’t contemplate suicide. You are too valuable to be lost. So many people are waiting to be healed by your story. Don’t deprive them of their healing.

  15. oluwamayowa

    July 20, 2016 at 10:04 am

    First of all, I’m grateful to God for how far my friends have gone in their different lives and careers(Including you).
    We are alive, happy and better than we used to be.
    I’m grateful for my family, my colleagues and all that wish me well.
    I really can’t thank God enough.

    • Mariam Olafuyi

      July 20, 2016 at 11:29 pm

      Mayowa, we are all progressing, slowly but surely. We have a lot to be grateful for!

  16. sola kola amodu

    July 20, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    and I’m thankful for the next set of celebrities like you that Ive know foryears back, but out of ignorance, just don’t attach so much weight to. nicely said, Mariam.

    • Mariam Olafuyi

      July 20, 2016 at 11:29 pm

      Mr Amodu, you are the real celebrity oh. I’m still looking for how to famz you very well!

  17. Ronke Adesoye

    July 20, 2016 at 10:02 pm

    I’m grateful that God exists. Whatever would I do if He were a myth?
    I’m grateful for the wonderful opportunities I’ve enjoyed.
    I’m grateful for love and from all those it streams from.

  18. Sheyfair

    July 24, 2016 at 12:22 am

    Thank you so much Mariam for reminding me of all I have to be grateful for.
    Top on my list is Life itself. Isn’t it amazing how we take so many things for granted and only get jolted out of our sheltered lives when we see a loved one in a bad place or when we hear horrible news?
    My Family comes next… I don’t even want to get started on this particular one. I am so Blessed!
    Then my Friends… Hmmm. I thank GOD He placed all the people in my life where they are right now. They have been my strength in times of weakness and “Paloma” when I was laughed so hard, tears were rolling.
    The Most Important thing I am grateful for is The Love GOD has for me and us all. Can you imagine a world without His Grace and Mercy? I sure can’t.

    Dear J,
    I hope you see this. You are worth way more than you can see right now. Regardless of how much you feel you have been messed up I want you to know that there is always the gift of choice and second chances. Despite all you have been through, you can be made whole again.
    Trust me. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Don’t give up. Reach me if you can at [email protected]. I want to be your friend.
    And always remember, GOD Loves you.

  19. Olu

    July 24, 2016 at 5:41 pm

    First of all, I am grateful for life and great health. Grateful for the very many blessings of God. So much i want but so much I have got!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! By the age of 7, i had lost both parents. Grateful to God I have an education, including a masters from a top school in the world. Who would have thought this was possible??? I am super grateful.

  20. Adefunke

    September 14, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    Thank you for this positive note

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