I love turkey, wine at 4 o’clock, the parade and I really, really love gratitude. Gratitude is such a simple concept with so much power. The more you practice gratitude the more you realize all you have to be grateful for. The more in touch you are with what you have to be grateful for, the richer your life becomes. And the only thing you need to change is your awareness. That is pretty close to magic.
I remember this time last year. I was bursting at the seams with gratitude. During a meditation I had a vision of someone pouring bucket after bucket of liquid gratitude over my head, the liquid was gold, sparkly and warm as it enveloped me. I was grateful for the opportunity to live abroad. I was grateful I had so quickly found so many beautiful friends to connect with. I was grateful I got to walk to work with headphones in my ears, a soundtrack playing to my own movie. A different world I got to observe, experience and engage in every day. Everything felt different, new and exciting. So many opportunities were presenting themselves to me. My world felt cracked open and I felt alive. Being grateful was easy.
This year, I am in a different place. I am in my parent’s basement, I am still searching for the answer. My social circle is so small you can barely see it, and it predominantly includes my parents. My next move, despite my massive efforts when I was in Korea to figure it out, is still unknown. The future remains a murky mystery and my goals are unclear. Not to mention the fact that the world is crumbling around us, and racism, sexism, xenophobia, and anti-Semitism are alive and well. I am still grateful but it is not an effortless practice.
What I need to do is connect to the basics. And the basics are this: I am grateful to be alive.
I will start right there. It is the most simple statement, and truest truth I know. I am grateful that every morning I wake up, I get a new chance. Every single day I have opportunities to do things that I like to do, with people that I love to be around. I am grateful to breathe, I am grateful to walk, I am grateful to think, I am grateful to write. I am grateful that almost all the people I love, although far away from me, are still under the same sun and moon as me. I am grateful that on Thursday I can sit with my family and share a meal and simply spend time together.
It is ok that I don’t know what my future looks like. Soon, I will. It is ok that I feel stagnant, I had an extremely rich and productive year. It is ok I did not check off all the goals I had set for myself in 2016 yet, I checked off most of them.
This year, I lived abroad, moved home, ran a marathon, began a (this!) blog, took a graduate course (an am doing really well!), made new friends, reconnected with old friends, became and aunt, decided Fairbanks is not where I wind up, decided counseling is not what I study and made myself vulnerable in new, scary, terrifying, beautiful ways. This year has been good. Even though everything feels a little off right now, I trust this is just a part of my path and that I am getting where I am going.
And for that, among many, many other things, I am grateful.
it’s hard to stay mad when there’s so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once and it’s too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life.