On Gratitude, Being Thankful And Appreciating What You Have
I felt I had to write to you (me) because lately, there’s been an abundance of eye rolling, a general abuse of the F Word, a decided lack of patience and entirely too much focus on all the things you feel aren’t going perfectly.
Me, it really pisses me off when you don’t realize how lucky you are. I know you can’t stand the word luck, because it implies that everything you have simply fell into your lap, as if you didn’t have to work for it. You and I don’t have any secrets. I know how hard you have struggled.
I know about the days you didn’t want to get out of bed. I know about the times you left a room because you could not hold back your tears. I know how often you’ve been rejected, professionally and personally. I’m well aware that your gender has been used against you. I know that you’ve felt smothered and trapped by the very responsibilities you are meant to love and the accomplishments anyone in their right mind would be proud of. I know that you have felt bored, petty and mean spirited. I realize that you wonder why in the hell you bother sometimes and secretly, in the dead of night when you lie awake in bed, you plan your great escape. You think about what it would be like to change your name, live in a different town where no one knows you. As great as your life is, you think about living an entirely different one. But, come on Me, we both know that you would never, ever leave.
It is my job to remind you that while fugitive fantasies are all well and good, where you are right now is exactly where you are meant to be and considering the rest of the world’s population, that place is pretty damned sweet. Let us (because of your semantic prejudice) leave out the word luck and replace it then with the word grateful. It is time, Me, to count your blessings, because they are legion.
You should feel grateful for the roof over your head. It may not be your dream home, but it does provide shelter and warmth. Look around you (if that is, you are home) – like a magpie, you have acquired treasures. They may not seem so to anyone else, but they mean so much to you. The framed picture of your grandmother, the painted box you bought as a souvenir (meant to be tacky in an ironic way but looks cool nonetheless). The DVD of your favorite movie that always makes you feel good, your first love letter, the cozy blanket you keep at the foot of your bed (so you can nap without feeling guilty because you haven’t actually gotten into bed), the perfume bottle on your dresser, your collection of rocks collected from beach trips and summer hikes. The very fact that you have a bed, and a couch and a way to watch movies and clean water from a tap and a fridge to go into when you are hungry, really are luxuries considering how many people in this country alone, are homeless. Think of the women on the run from abusive husbands or the children who will only get fed when they go to school. Think of all the people all over the world who would consider your home to be a palace.
You should feel grateful for your health. People say that all the time, but really, it is a wonder to be able bodied. You have two arms, two legs. You can run, you can walk. You hate doing the dishes, but hey, you can do the dishes and the laundry. You can hold the people you love and you can tell them all the ways you do. You can dress yourself and you can walk out the front door (even if you only intend to go as far as the porch) when you need a break from it all. You can breathe clean air and you aren’t sick. Okay, so you’re afraid of dying. You’re afraid of leaving people behind and moving on before you’ve made a real mark. Guess what? So is most everybody else in the world. You are never going to know what the future holds, that’s why it’s so important to be grateful for every minute that you have.
Speaking of love… it really is sad, Me, that I need to put this in context for you. You have a family that loves you very much. Perhaps they don’t love you the way you want them to; maybe they could say the same about you? Regardless, you are loved by them, in their way, so very much. Your fantastic friends are also there for you and you get to be there for them in return. How can you doubt that? Sometimes, I think that you don’t realize how precious a thing love is. Real love cannot be bought, it cannot be traded or replaced. You could lose everything else, but the love you have and the love that others feel for you will always remain. It may change and evolve over the years but it will ever be a life boat on the days when your ship goes down.
Shelter, food, love, health- you have those things, but I can understand, Me, how big and close they are, how hard it may be to wrap your arms around and cling to them in the face of a difficult time. So maybe focus on being grateful for the little things? Blue skies, budding flowers, your favorite book beside your bed, a hot shower, a perfect cup of tea, a song to sing along to on the radio, the return of Game of Thrones (ha!), cute boys, a weekend away, the door a stranger opened for you when your hands were full, having a great workout, having a lovely lie-in, chocolate croissants, clean sheets, the sound of rain – it’s life, Me, and there is so much of it.
You may think that whining or moaning or venting or shopping or exercising or “talking your way through” or ignoring or brushing it under the carpet, whatever “it” is will get you past a difficult time. Conversely, all the great things that happen sweep by without much notice because you are so often looking for what’s coming next. We both know that it’s gratitude for all that you have, that will bring you peace of mind. Take hold of those little things, those perfect fleeting moments, screeching by on their way to oblivion and don’t let them go without acknowledging them and storing them away to remember later in a darker time.
Look around you Me, and be thankful.
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