Happy new year to you.
January first, and the week before it, is often a time of reflection for people. It’s about the previous year, where they are now, where they want to be, things they wish were different about themselves or in their lives. Nearly everyone indulges in this exercise and nearly everyone finds their lives lacking.
I don’t see why. To be perfectly brutal: Your life is what it is because of the choices you make. “I’m fat,” “I’m out of shape,” “my stuck in my job,” “no one loves me,” “I’m with the wrong person.” All of them are choices you’ve made. And that’s because life is about choices; choices we make when we’re young, decisions we make every single day and, mostly, the choice we make when we get up in the morning.
It starts when we’re little – “What do you want to wear today, Johnny? Superman or Spiderman?” – and gets harder when we’re in our teens – “What do you want to be? You need to decide NOW so that you can go to university!” And then, one day, we’re adults. We’ve chosen our career path, or not. We’re in relationships. We have kids. We decide to stay in that dead-end job because there are health benefits, or enough pay that the lack of doesn’t quite matter. We eat too much, drink too much, smoke too much.
One day we wake up and we’re middle-aged and wondering where the life we imagined went. Where is our career? Our trip to Europe? That trip we wanted to Disneyworld/land? Where is that house with the backyard I can BBQ in? Where is our spouse and 2.2 kids?
You could spend a LOT of time asking yourself these questions.
Your answers are either bemoaning your life and figuring you’re stuck or they’re looking for the positives in what you have and being grateful for them. You can also choose to be a positive person, waking up each day seeing the light; gratitude practiced daily helps with that.
Either way you have a choice – change it or no? Can you change what you’re grateful for? Why would you?
Why? Because sometimes a roof over your head isn’t enough. That’s good; it’s great to have dreams and aspirations. I certainly do. I want to be a well-known author. I want to get out of my one bedroom apartment (that I’m grateful to have) and into a 3-bedroom house with a master bedroom on the ground floor (a bungalow would be best). I want a bigger income than I have now. I want to be healthier than I am.
Those aspirations don’t make me any less grateful for what I have. Last year I started the Gratitude Jar. I have to admit that after four months I stopped writing everything down. There was just so much to be grateful for that I couldn’t keep up. I do make it a point to spend time every day contemplating what I’m grateful for but let’s see what some specifics are.
– The Boyfriend does my laundry almost every week.
– On January 3rd, BoyKid came to spend time with me.
– On the 4th, a food vendor gave me a bottle of water, no charge, while at the Motorcycle Supershow. (I am unhappy we missed the show this year but there’s a smaller one coming up.)
– Also on the 4th, my ex and GirlKid went and bought me frozen strawberries simply because I wanted them.
– January 12th, The Boyfriend took me to London’s Food & Wine Show simply because I wanted to go. He didn’t expect to enjoy himself. I’m hoping we get to go again this year. (Hint: It’s in 10 days.)
My life is full of small-medium things like that. Laundry, visits, treats. Then there are the big things like when my back went out last year. From February 22 to March 6th, The Boyfriend took care of me. At his house. Along with the cat. Drove me wherever I needed to go for medical care. Then a week later, he spent two days cleaning my house.
On February 9th, after being ill for a few days, I felt better enough to go to the beach. Being able to go to the beach is something I am immensely grateful for.
I also made new friends this past year. Some were fleeting. Some are, so far, standing the test of time and my absentmindedness.
April and October were banner months:
April: Dad paid for my glasses, two years of website, GirlKid’s new laptop and allowed me to indulge a little bit. The Boyfriend helped me shop, paid for half the PS3 (as a stress reliever, have to admit, gaming does it for me), set aside money for my trip to Scotland (which WILL happen this year!), was there with me through the ODSP tribunal and bought the photos for my website. Val bought the first 5 pics from Shutterstock for my website and was very generous towards GirlKid’s graduation trip fundraiser. AND The Grandbaby was born.
October: My ex, his girlfriend and the kids went way out of their way to make my 40th birthday something special. Dad spoiled me with a shopping spree. My party was smaller than I would have liked but I was no less grateful for the company I kept on that day.
In May it looked like the other man in my life, the Scotsman, might be dead. The Boyfriend changed the plans he had for that day and spent the entire day with me.
Christmas was a lot of work but it turned out well and people were happy with their gifts. I am grateful for the family time I had, even if some of it was a problem.
I am always grateful for the love in my life. Even when it’s hard to see. I am grateful my children are brilliant, compassionate and healthy. I’m grateful my ex-husband and I are friends. I’m grateful for The Boyfriend and Other Boyfriend. I love them both an incomprehensible amount. I am grateful for Val. And for Cindy, krissy, Kitty and all the others I call friends, those I speak to daily and the ones I don’t.
I am grateful I get to see another year. I am grateful I have the support to do what I want to do this year. And I am grateful for all of you.
Every day I am grateful for something. Every day, regardless of my pain levels, I see the light – even if I have to fight to see it. It is my wish for you that the light always be present, shining for you, even when you’re the only one to see it.