A thought on gratitude
This week’s post is inspired by a wonderful woman who never fails to find new ways to inspire me. Julie is the mother of two of my best friends in the world, and she’s one of my best friends herself. They’ve been like family to me since I met them when I was about 11 at a rundown little campsite.
This year Julie committed to keeping a daily blog on gratitude. Finding something to be grateful for can be hard at the best of times, but for a woman whose entire family lives with chronic pain, it’s even harder – and yet, that only makes it more important.
It’s really easy to get caught up in the bad things in life, and sometimes that’s pretty understandable. When something really bad happens, sometimes all you want to do is crawl into bed and stay there for a week, a month, a year – however long it takes for the bad feelings to go away.
Unfortunately life doesn’t happen like that. You can hide all you like, but at the end of the day problems and feelings don’t just disappear. And while some feelings (grief, for example) may never completely go away, by only focusing on the negative we become oblivious to the good things in our lives.
At the risk of sounding preachy, even grief has a silver lining, for while we are sad, it means that person or pet made us truly happy while we were here. We are sad because they are gone, but those wonderful times will always be a part of who we are, the lessons they taught us will not disappear, and for that we can be grateful.
So, in honour of Julie, who has amazed me once again by continuing to find things to be grateful for even in a very dark time, I wanted to dedicate a post to a few things I am grateful for right at this point in time, and remind you and your little ones to take the time to acknowledge the things that are wonderful instead of getting caught up in the things that are not.
Long walks and cold showers
Today was a long-ish day, I worked a bit late in preparation for a surge of work that is bound to arrive tomorrow (my deadline to have it finished – also tomorrow!), so I arrived home just after my fiance, even though he’s supposed to finish an hour and a half after me.
Still, even though it was a bit later than normal and we had nothing prepared, we decided to take the dogs on a nice long walk – almost an hour! We got tired, they got tired, but it was a really nice evening for it, and spending time with our precious pets is something we don’t get to do enough.
By the time we got home I was pretty hot and sticky, and had to start dinner – it was already quite dark. But instead of dragging myself begrudgingly into the kitchen I decided to have a quick, cold shower first. It was just what I needed to brighten me up and put me in a good mood for cooking a delicious dinner!
Matt and I both love cooking, and especially experimenting in the kitchen, but we both work full time and sometimes it’s pretty hard to think up things that are creative, delicious and quick!
Tonight I had planned to cook a veggie curry, but realised we had forgotten to buy coconut milk. When we got home from our walk I started rummaging through the cupboards only to find a jar of Nandos Coconut Curry – perfect! All I had to do was chop the veggies, whack them in the pot with some lentils and cashews (protein!) and cook the rice – easy! And I have to say, for flavour in a jar, it was gooooood.
Ok, I already wrote about walking the dogs, but they are not the only pets we have! Matt and I are lucky enough to share our home with four beautiful animals – the two dogs (Zayena and Ciara), a kitten (Saphira) and a rabbit (Leonora). They all have their own individual personalities, and while they can all be annoying in their own special ways (stop jumping! stop chewing! put the ball down! OW, don’t use your claws!) they have added so much to our lives. Having responsibility for four such beautiful little individuals is just amazing.
I realise my other items have all been home and family related, however this is one that has been on my mind a lot lately. As a journalist who firmly believes in the role of the fourth estate (Wikipedia it here – yep, Wikipedia definitely has it’s place!) especially in times of turmoil, hearing about the situation in many countries in North Africa and the Middle East where people are being arrested and beaten simply for telling others what’s going on in the world is a good reminder of how good we have it in this country.
It is easy to take our freedoms in Australia for granted, and we are very lucky to have that luxury. That in 2011 there are still countries where people have no say in things like what they can wear, what they can do with their lives, what they can say and who they can say it to is a very scary thought. While it is easy to get caught up in our own problems, and understandably so, do spare a thought for all the people who are not so lucky as us to live in a country with all the freedoms that affords us.
To be as inspired by Julie as I have, visit her blog 365 Day Project, my way.
What are you grateful for?