“Though you may not drive a great big Cadillac,” a partial lyric from song writer William De Vaughan’s Be Thankful for What You’ve Got, that’s resonated with me ’til this day. Although several artists (the late, great Curtis Mayfield and recently, new comer Pepe Marquez, to name a few) have recorded their own remake of this classic, the overall positive message continues to ring true:
Just Be Thankful for What You’ve Got
Now I can’t front with “a great big Cadillac, gangsta whitewalls, TV antennas in the back,” while rollin’ in a paid-for used but loved Honda CR-V with Armor Alled up tires. However, after washing it, I’ve been known to drive with a “gangsta lean.”
Likewise, I even had a gangsta lean on the return flight back from carnival in Rio, Brasil two weeks ago. Now this being my rookie trip to this South American country, I wasn’t ready for the following:
- NOT knowing basic Portuguese language
- Proper sunscreen (I thought my light beige African-American skin didn’t need it)
- Booking an Airbnb too far from Copacabana Beach
- Out-of-this-world beautiful, USER-FRIENDLY women
However, the one most important thing not on this list is the pleasant reminder of just how good I’ve got it in the United States. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s also known as the Matrix within the Red/Black Pill Community but there’s something to be said about appreciating what we American citizens often take for granted.
Appreciating Life More After Traveling Overseas
Yeah, that’s me in center of the Black Man’s Option crew, semi-mean mugging for a quick pic on the Lapa Steps. I recall telling several my BMO travel Brothers that, “I’m usually a loner,” but appreciate choppin’ it up with like-minded men, especially ones outside of the States.
Besides not being fluent in Portuguese, more than a few crew members were. Also, some of them actually reside (permanently and/or seasonal) in Brasil, breaking down the pros and cons of being an expat who rent and/or own a home, making my 10-day stay both a pleasurable and an educational experience.
Throughout my time in Rio, I saw people living in poverty but somehow still wearing a smile, even during their own carnival. It wasn’t the first time I’ve seen this but for whatever reason, these individuals shown me how superficial, hell, even entitled, we Americans can be at home and abroad.
Likewise, this recent trip jolted my brain, bringing back memories of my first time living overseas—Athens, Greece (1983 to 1986), during my active Air Force service. Next was in Guam (1989 to 1991), another military stint that opened my eyes to the rest of the world, and how much I grew up mentally, thereafter, being grateful for being born in the US of A.
Nowadays, while working on my third passport, I’ve continued to up my travel game. Whether from Panama and Costa Rica to Argentina and Colombia, I’m forever becoming the professional stamp collector I’ve planned to be with a better attitude to boot.
Diggin’ the Scene with a Gangsta Lean
Therefore, my traveling Brothers, here’s your take away: life’s too short to waste on complaining about whatever you don’t have.
In other words, appreciate what you do have in life. So what if you’re not making the amount of money you know you’re worth; don’t trip out over it, just take a conscious breath, and silently make adjustments to your overall strategy.
Why, you ask? Okay, I’ll tell you why.
Because that’s the way the game goes. Let’s look at it this way, it’s the fourth quarter of Game 7 of the NBA Finals, and you’re down by 10 points.
Now you if really want that championship ring, along with the lifetime bragging rights that go with it, you’ll be sure to make any changes necessary to achieve the goal of winning at all cost, regardless of how painful it might be. Just remember that once you get there, never forget where you came from, and, most importantly, how much sacrifice went into getting there.
Remember how fortunate you are just to be able to reach those goals, while many others in the world may never get a chance to. Next time you catch yourself complaining, just pause to savor what you do have, and be thankful for what you’ve got.
Until next time, my Brothers, peace.
Marcus love is a published author. You can scoop up his most recent Broke and Ashy urban eNovella series at an Amazon Kindle near you.