This month, I have been participating in an Instagram challenge to post one picture each day showing something for which I am thankful. The challenge kicked off with the host’s posting of a quote that I’ve seen before, but that I sometimes forget: “Gratitude turns what we have into enough.”
We have been living with a degree of uncertainty for as long as I can remember, and it’s easy to get down about that. There are still big, unsettled questions about our living situation, and I’m not someone who likes big, unsettled questions. I like to be rooted, and I haven’t felt rooted in a long time. With all this uncertainty swirling around, it’s easy to get frustrated or down. And that’s just the big stuff. Little frustrations – family drama, job stress, everyday worries – eat away at me too. Sometimes I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above water, and I’m certainly not living as well or as contentedly as I wish I was.
But you know what? I have enough. More than enough, really. I may not enjoy the uncertainty, or the daily stresses of living and working, or the little outbreaks of drama that are part of everyone’s lives… but if I take a moment to be grateful for those things that are good in my life, I really do have plenty.
I have a wonderful husband, who is my best friend, favorite hiking buddy, and the person who can make me laugh more than anyone else. I’ve had ten years of marriage to him, with all of the memories that entails, and I have (I hope – health permitting!) many, many more years to look forward to with him.
I have two beautiful children (with said husband) who make every day noisier and wilder and more fun and much sweeter than my days would be without them. I have the amazing gift of being their mom. They’re healthy and adorable.
I have a roof over my head (a roof I’m selling, but still – when we sell this house, we will move on to another roof). I never have to worry about the rain coming in.
I also never have to worry about where my next meal, or my children’s next meal, is coming from. I have a job that allows me to contribute meaningfully to my family and to provide everything that my kids need – and then some. And it allows me to give back as well, which is important to me – especially at this time of the year, but really, anytime. My husband has a job, too. In this time of great financial uncertainty, we’re both currently employed in our specialties – that’s huge.
I have fabulous friends. I’ve gotten to spend quality time with all of my closest friends this year. And I’ve made new friends, too, mostly moms I’ve met through Peanut’s class. There is one family in particular that has become really special to us over the course of the year, and I’ve gotten the joy of watching the kids play together on many playdates and at school functions while I have the pleasure of talking to a mom that I think is really, really cool and sweet and just delightful. Mom friends for the win! (And when you’re an introvert, and not in a structured setting anymore, making these friends does not come easily.)
I have books! All the books I could ever want! Yes, that’s really true – because I have access to a public library that has most of the books I want to read right on the shelves. And as for the few books that the library doesn’t have, or the few that I read and love enough to want as part of my permanent collection, I have enough discretionary income to buy what I want (within reason). I get most of my books from the library, with a stray paperback coming home to stay from time to time, and I’m awash in literary riches as a result.
I have the money for other little luxuries that make life more fun. Nice tea and the occasional food treat. Fresh flowers from the market. Books and toys for my kids. Gas money so I can take day trips with my family.
I have had the opportunity to go on two big family vacations this year. Some people don’t get any vacations in a year. (I know, because that was me last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. Before this year’s trips, I had not been on a real vacation of a week or more since 2011. So getting the chance to unwind and spend time with people I love in a beautiful place not once, but twice, in 2015 is quite the blessing.)
I have hiking trails to explore, practically right in my backyard. Sometimes I get down on the hiking around here because it’s not as dramatic as I would like it to be. But the trails are there, and they’ve given my family hours of fun in the fresh air and sunshine.
I have the ability to run – slowly, but I can get out there – and I have the privilege of testing myself and enjoying my journey at races in my area. I have running friends who encourage me and inspire me and run across finish lines with me. I have a growing collection of race medals that remind me that I have worked for and achieved my goals in the past and that the postpartum period is temporary, and that I’ll be back and better than ever before too long.
I have so much! I might not have any idea what the future holds, but I know what the present holds, and so much of it is really, really good. And that is more than enough – it’s plenty.
Happy Thanksgiving to my American friends. I hope you all have a wonderful day celebrating with your family and friends tomorrow.