Friday, July 18, 2014

An exercise in thankfulness

For many reasons, 29 has not been my favourite age. This year has been really hard on me and my family. If I'm honest, I'm probably a good deal of what's been hard on my family. Health complications, job transitions, a new house and a toddler who has found his will -- I have felt just drained and kind of lifeless for much of the past year.

And that list of the tough things, I think about it often. I hate feeling so down and knowing I'm bringing others down, but I'll often play through the list of things that are tough in my life. It certainly doesn't make me feel better, but it does make me feel justified in my self-pity.

I've talked about pieces of this with different people, those who have gone through some of the same problems or those whose opinion I value and there has been a recurring theme of advice. "Yeah, that's tough and it might not seem like it, but you'll get through it. What if you started dwelling on the good things instead of the bad?"

I got no quick and easy solutions, no "well here's what I did and I was better after a week." These aren't those kinds of problems. But maybe they've got something there. What if I changed the way I dealt with these struggles? Even if the bad things don't go away, can I choose to focus on the good?

I'd like to think so.

And I have to admit, my attitude is probably the biggest problem of all. It's why no matter how many empathetic conversations I have, how much my husband dotes on me and how many wonderful little hugs I get from my toddler, I have had trouble feeling happy.

So, maybe I should actually take some of that advice. To be more of the person I want to be and less of the person I feel like. Feelings follow actions I've been told. In that spirit, here are some of the things I'm thankful for, despite any other circumstances. (in no particular order)

  • My unfailingly patient husband
  • My caring (if emotionally precarious) toddler
  • Awesome parents and in-laws (and other immediate family)
  • Overall pretty good health
  • A new house we love
  • A steady job
  • The ability to allow AJ enrol in school and chase his dream
  • Good friends who talk me through darkness and know how to make me smile, even through faraway texts
  • A church our whole family loves
  • Nachos
  • Summer and sunshine
  • Events to plan
  • No major debt
  • So many nice things we own
  • Time spent reading
  • A God who waits for me to come back
  • Enough (often more than enough) food to eat
  • Date nights
  • Sleep
  • A list that could go on and on

Making a list like that certainly feels a lot better than listing what's going wrong. And this list is much longer too. I'm still praying and working toward solutions to all those other problems, but in the meantime, I'd really like to just enjoy what's in front of me. Because it's a lot of really great stuff.


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