Happy New Year! I want to first thank everyone who reads my blog on and off. I’m really grateful that you do!
January 1st is considered a day of new starts and new beginnings. People make resolutions to save money, get into shape and find a partner. It’s great to look into the universe and ask for what you want but you must really believe in it, visualize it. At times of doubt, reform your positive thoughts, see yourself 20 pounds lighter, see yourself with more money or see yourself holding hands with your love walking in the park. You can make all the resolutions you want but unless you really believe that it is possible, that it will happen, you will only sabotage yourself.
But enough about resolutions. I quit making them several years back. Every day is a new beginning and a new start. Last night after a dinner out with my husband, we were talking about things like vacation, bucket lists, what we want to accomplish in the new year. I reflected back ten years ago when my life was quite different. It only changed when I made up my mind that I could no longer live in this 2nd marriage. Today my life is much different. In 2006, I was unhappy and miserable just holding it together. Day by day, week by week fighting against the negative energy of someone who didn’t have mine or my daughters’ best interests at heart. Fast forward to today and there is little I need or even want. If I died tomorrow, there is very little on my bucket list. I would only regret leaving the people I love.
The whole ‘bucket list’ thing I somewhat understand. It’s great to motivate you to go out and experience life. While there is some traveling I want to do and I want to write that best-selling novel, my focus is very small. I used to have grand ideas and dreams but my mom’s terminal cancer and death put life into a whole different context. Things I believed were so important whether they were material or intangible, are really not important to me now. The meaning of life to me is to spend time with the people you love and find ways to show love to others. It means stop taking crap you don’t have to take (though sometimes you have to do it to make a living), stop doing things you don’t want to do especially social obligations and start doing the things you enjoy the most even if it is not something everyone else finds exciting.
Rather than a bucket list, I want to focus on a gratitude list. Recently, I started volunteering at a local nursing home and have found it very rewarding so far but also very sobering. Imagine what it would be like to one day wake up and your life is limited to a small room (possibly shared) and a hallway leading to the dining room/ rec room. Physically you are no longer able to walk or care for yourself. All your possessions are now in the room with you and can be placed in a few large boxes. That isn’t how it ends for everyone, but it is a reminder of what is truly important. Our health, love and the people we love.
I have so much to be grateful for but it is easy to get into this cycle of feeling sorry for yourself or focusing on what you may have lost. Grief has a way of pulling you down under murky waters and you can’t see the light. I’m sure this is normal and it’s hard to live without someone you were very close to that was also a big part of your life. Eventually you surface and start swimming for shore but the thick water of grief keeps pulling at you, making your progress slow and painful. Some days the swimming is easier and other days you just want to slip back under the surface and never come back up. I have no sage advice though time does help but it’s not magic either. You have to be careful though to not forget your life and the ones who are still here. My grief became somewhat selfish and self-centered. I felt bad for myself, my mother is gone, and I kept living in that cloud.
The problem with living that way is you short change the people who need and love you. You don’t mean to do it, you are lost in your own grief but at some point you have to get back onto shore and walk. Even though it’s hard, and you would rather just keep swimming in the thick dark lake of grief and sorrow. You need to look at all that is good in your life right this minute. For me that is my husband, my daughters, my extended family and friends. That I live is a beautiful comfortable home, drive a nice vehicle and have all the food and comforts I could ever want. I can walk, cook and take care of myself. I can literally walk a few feet, get into my truck and go wherever I’d like.
At least for now. I am the most blessed woman on the planet even though I’ve lost my mom and other people I love. Even though I had two shitty marriages and made a bunch of mistakes in my life. But no matter what, I think being grateful for what you have at that moment is very powerful. This brings happiness and joy to your life. I went from nothing, an abusive home, sexual/verbal/emotional abuse, poverty etc. to still lead a good life. Life may kick you hard but it is up to you where you end up. You have the choice to be grateful and look ahead at improving your situation or you can sit around feeling sorry for yourself. Be a victim. I chose gratitude. I chose to live the life I want.
This year after living most of my life in dysfunctional chaos, I am going to chose to live in peace. Even if events are out of my control, I am going to chose a different path. I’m going to focus on what I have to be grateful for and I’m going to ask for what I want in life. I want to publish a book. I want to be fit.
What do you want? What are you grateful for?