When life is going perfectly, at least as perfect as you think it can be at that moment, it’s easy to take a step back and be so grateful. You feel loved and you can acknowledge all the good around you. I usually call these heart-swells, since when I feel this way, I feel like my heart is literally swelling in my chest. I feel lighter, smiles are almost automatic, and the sun seems to shine brighter.
Sometimes, life throws you several bags of shit all at once – way too many to catch – and so you catch some of them and the others just fall at your feet and stink up your life. You feel sad and things look bleak and nothing seems good. I don’t have a name for this, but it usually feels to me like my heart is being steamrolled. It’s harder to breathe, colors are dulled, and my eyes sting with the constant threat of tears.
What I’m saying is that sometimes it’s hard to remember to be grateful. And there is always, always something good in your life. You might just have to dig deeper at times to find it.
Last night I found myself overcome with anxiety and apprehension. My mind was completely overcome with negative thoughts about the holidays, my dad, my life, myself. And I thought – I said to myself, “Sara, why are you allowing these thoughts to dominate your mind?” I couldn’t answer my own question and so I shifted my perspective. I began to think of all the things for which I’m so grateful, all the things that give me heart-swells just by thinking of them.
And so, on Thanksgiving-eve, I give you my gratitude list.
I’m grateful for…
- Having to choose which side of the family to visit for the holidays – or any other time. I have both sides and I am thankful for that.
- Being able to afford both the time and the money to visit the chosen side of the family. This Thanksgiving it’s my dad’s side, with whom I haven’t spent a major holiday in over a decade.
- My dad, who, in his own way, is making a huge concerted effort to make sure I feel included and wanted in his home for this holiday. That’s not easy for him – because of circumstances outside his immediate control – and I am so grateful to him for trying.
- My little half-brothers, who are beyond thrilled when I visit, even when it’s only once a year.
- My mom, who sends me care packages with exactly what I didn’t know I wanted, like neon socks and jars of baby corns and homemade caramel corn.
- Being strong enough to do 14 pushups on my toes – and 40 more on my knees.
- Having the dedication to go to Bar Method classes every single morning, even when I’d rather lay in bed.
- Waffles the Cat, who is the best cuddly jungle cat I could have found.
- All of my many friends, who complement my life in so many different ways – and who still love me despite my not-so-secret Cat Lady tendencies.
- My stepsisters.
- My new habit of waking up before my alarm without being cranky.
- The confidence to put myself out there in ways that make me nervous.
- Dancing outside my comfort zone for the last 6 months.
- Being alive.
I’m so lucky, blessed, whatever you want to call it, in my life. Things are not always easy – no, sometimes things suck and sometimes things more-than-suck – but no matter what, even when it’s hard to find, I am so grateful.
So here it is, my declaration, my acknowledgement of all things good in my life.