Last week Friday was my 45th birthday, and a very good day it was. I find closure in taking a few minutes around my birthday to look back and assess each year's experiences. I remember my gains and losses, summarize the year, and then let it go. So this year I took some time to revisit my 44th year, but I found that my reflections left me with mixed emotions about how well it had gone.
I did indeed accomplish many of my goals, and yes, I was proud for what I had worked hard for and allowed in my life. But still, something was bothering me... some dreams were left undone or even forgotten - some even smashed flat like a bug. Yes, I had laughed hard in my 44th year and had a lot of fun, but I encountered a good bit of struggle, pain, and sadness too... or at least more than I was used to. My family and I were healthy and well cared for, and I couldn't really think of anything catastrophic that happened, but I wasn't quite feeling a "thumbs up" year. And to be honest, I wasn't where I thought I would or should be at the ripe age of 45.
Hmmmm, I needed to sit with this a while and figure out why I was bothered with my reflections of the previous year. I know that we don't always have perfectly wonderful years, but somehow this year I was sad because it seemed that my struggles may have slightly outweighed my gains. Was this o.k. to admit? Was I just having a negative moment? Why couldn't I wrap my year up nicely in a neat little bow and put it on the shelf with happy closure even if it wasn't all I had hoped?
And literally, right at that moment, I looked up on my dream board and saw these words...
Wow. One of my favorite quotes of all times, written by I don't know who, spoke right to me... showing me what I needed to do right in that moment. I just knew that I could gain clarity by having a big, fat rampage of thankfulness for whatever I could think of in a short amount of time. So, I went down and made breakfast, took a shower, hung out with the kids - all the while carrying my paper and pen with me and writing anything and everything that I could think of that I liked in my life and that I was thankful for.
After I finished, I was amazed that through my begrudgingness of not having an awesome year like I had planned, I instead realized the power of now. It dawned on me that I had indeed assessed my year correctly... it was not one of my "best years" as far as my wants and dreams go. I couldn't tie it neatly in a bow and say it was a "wonderful" year, BUT, I did come to understand that it was a year that I needed.
A year that built my patience and my hope. A year that molded me spiritually. A year that continues to show me dead on that I can and will continue this really amazing journey with grace and joy and a love for life no matter what I encounter. A year that I'll look back on and know... "that was one of those years that I was being fired and sanded and polished." Sometimes the days and years that we want turn into days and years that we need instead... to build us and fine-tune us and evolve us into much more than we ever could imagine for ourselves. I know that this year was that for me. And I am learning gratitude for it.
So here is my rampage of thankfulness if you care to read it. Just the thoughts I had in a few hours of living. And I really get it now that when I am low on the positive thoughts scale, I just need to recalibrate my soul by aligning with thankfulness. All my power is in the present moment of appreciation.
The brilliance of Harry Potter; the quiet; a good smelling lotion; my shriveled, faded Mickey Mouse tattoo; sense of community; dairy-free cookbooks; good pillows; the sun; theater people; my camera; the wind; the house where we grew our family, and our new house where we'll continue our awesome journey together; and a good shower and leg shave.
The Polar Express movie; eyes that see; giving to others and doing for others; my fun and active dream life; melatonin; memories; advanced age-reversing makeup; friends who leave fun phone messages; the color of my hair (even though it's from a box now); Werthers original candy; the word "create;" that I'm being more candid and bolder in my writing; nice souls in large crowds who I seem to connect with through a smile; and the unconditional love of my dorko dog.
baby powder; how my jeans are fitting just a tad bit better these days; connection to people; sunlight filtering through trees; very vanilla soy milk and vanilla rice milk with Tazo chai tea over ice; homemade cards from my kids; a night off from cooking; the trust of a child; opportunity; wigs; belief; laughter; color, and possibilities.
the love of my parents; the smell of Christmas; capability; all you can eat oysters; a car that runs on a cold day; watching my daughter acting in a play; peace in the midst of chaos; mammy; my new boots; the footsteps of my waking kids above me... spry and ready for the day; my friends' support; my son's energy; my health; my family's health; the bond of love that is unique only to our family; and the smell of pluff mud.
I earnestly ask you to do the same for yourself... just stop... and take ten minutes to write down and be thankful for whatever it is you see in front of you. No, you probably don't have the time, but just do it. It realigns your soul so that you get back on track. It helps you understand that in every, every, every moment, no matter how absolutely terrible it is, there is something... maybe the tiniest little thing, but something to be thankful for. And it just feels gooooood.
So, Today I will find things to be happy about even if I'm not feeling it. They are jumping up and down trying to get my attention and gratitude! I will create thanks no matter how mundane or joyful my life seems. I will know in my heart that the days when happiness and thanksgiving are hard to muster that I am learning some really great lessons that will help me evolve. And that sometimes I am receiving what I need instead of what I want. I am THANKFUL for being here right now, in this very moment, just doing my thing. I am thankful!