What Happens When You Don’t Take Things For Granted

Joanne Tombrakos
3 min readFeb 28, 2022

Last January I signed up for Weight Watchers. It was time to lose my pandemic weight. I committed myself, knowing that soon enough life as we once knew it would resume and I would have to put on a pair of pants that zipped.

For the next several months I was disciplined.

I ate healthy, steering clear of the sweets and treats that I had been using as a way to stuff the stress of the previous couple of years. I even took to using a measuring cup to pour my ration of wine when I had allocated enough points that week to do so.

It worked. By May I had hit my goal and felt like myself again.

It took a while before I felt comfortable enough to allow myself an occasional caloric indulgence — usually pizza or pastry — without the worry that I would lose the discipline I had rediscovered and the pounds would creep back up.

Now I do.

Ever since Maman opened down the street from me, I treat myself to one of their incredible croissants each week.


Not two.

Not every day.

I savor each bite.

The flaky pastry.

The dust of sugar on top.

The perfectly sliced almonds.

The sweet, but not too sweet filling.

I take little bites and stop between each one to pause and take it in.

I am appreciative of each delectable morsel.

This weekend as I lingered over my almond croissant, my current favorite, it occurred to me that when I let things get out of hand, when the pounds had piled on, it had been because I had not stopped to notice what I was eating. I was too caught up in the stresses of caring for my mother, the antics played out on a daily basis by the former president, and the isolation of the pandemic.

I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing. I was going through the motions and by doing so I had taken for granted whatever food was on my plate.

As I have been watching the horrors of what is happening in Ukraine this week, I keep wondering if this is what we have been doing with our precious Democracy.

Taking it for granted.

Not paying attention to what we need to do for it to thrive.

Consuming it without stopping to remember how precious and wonderful it is.

Forgetting how fragile it is and how it can turn upside down at any moment by evil forces.

That without discipline, care and feeding it won’t survive.

That it does not endure by itself.

That we all have a role in it.

The Ukrainians have not forgotten how fragile it is. Democracy is still new to them. They savor each moment of their freedom. That’s why they’re fighting so hard to save it. They have not taken it for granted.

Let’s hope we all take note and follow their lead.

Originally published at https://joannetombrakos.com on February 28, 2022.



Joanne Tombrakos

Calling myself a Storyteller since before it was trendy. I use story to teach, pitch, think and escape. Podcaster. Writer. NYU Prof. Follow@joannetombrakos