“Remembering my intrinsic value and the power of myself and being grateful for myself even when I’m not feeling the best about myself has been really, really helpful and important.”


Bright Lights/Young Lives is a special project within our Grateful Voices video series which aims to uplift the personal stories and reflections of young people, aged 16 – 30 years old. The series is made up of short-form documentaries featuring young adults from a variety of backgrounds talking about what it means for them to live gratefully, how they embody this commitment, how gratefulness was awakened in them, and why they believe it matters and can make a difference in our world. The intention of these stories is to demonstrate the reality and relevance of Grateful Living across a diverse, inclusive continuum, and to share the insights, grateful perspectives, and rich sense of possibility that so many young people hold. In this short video, we hear from Maya McDuffie.

Video Transcript

I think if I had a superpower it would be not to time travel, but to freeze time and just stay in moments for longer. I’ve caught myself so many times being like, “Wow, I’m just having such a great time right now. I’m so grateful for everything that’s happening, I wish that I could just live this moment a little bit longer.”

My name is Amaya McDuffie. I go by Maya. I’m 18 years old, I’m from Philly, and I like to create. Whether it be music, writing, collages…I just enjoy creating.

What inspires me to do collages… sometimes I look up prompts or sometimes I’ll just observe what’s going on in my life. My recent collage was a collage about coming out of winter and the spring, because it was cold for a while. We had a very cold spring in here in Philly for a little bit. So my collage — it was from left to right — started with cooler tones and then exploded into flowers and earth tones and things that were alive.

When it comes to mental health issues, remembering my intrinsic value and the power of myself and being grateful for myself even when I’m not feeling the best about myself has been really, really helpful and important.

A time that was difficult and I chose to be grateful anyways [is when] my grandma had some health issues and it was really challenging for everyone in the family, and we were worried about the what if, what’s going on. But I think being grateful for her presence then and talking to her and just being grateful for her as a person really, really helped me, and I think her as well, through the anxiety of the health issues. And now she’s 89 years old and doing better than ever now, so I think I definitely do have to thank gratefulness for pulling me through that.

My hope for the world is just for people to listen to each other. Not just, but that’s a very, very important first step in healing all the issues in the world right now. I think a lot of our disconnects and a lot of our issues stem from people just being so wrapped up in themselves and their interest that they neglect to listen to other people. So I think when we start listening to other perspectives and other people’s struggles, I think that’s when we can start healing the world.

Bright Lights/Young Lives has been executed in honor/memory of the extraordinary life of Julia Burke, who lived her passion for life out loud.  Funding for the series came from The Julia Burke Foundation. The videos were produced by Greg Corbin and edited by Jordan Francis. The Grateful Living Team oversaw the project with grateful hearts.

Visit Grateful Voices to see more stories about living gratefully.

Bright Lights/Young Lives