Recently I had someone tell me that I don't appreciate some of the things that are in my life. My gut reaction to this was outrage, making me want to fight back with my denials- and some of that did happen. However, after the fire died down,I had time to reflect (something that has been force fed into me with this Masters program that I am enrolled in). And I began to wonder if I really had become too comfortable, thereby making me ungrateful. Of course, this self reflection led to my overthinking which is how this blog started in the first place.
A few years ago, I felt as though I had arrived at a place in my life where I was very unappreciative of the many blessings I had- to the point where I felt almost entitled to my good fortune. Until this past week, I thought that I had worked through that phase and finally arrived at a mid point of balance where I try not to take anyone or anything for granted, where I appreciate what I have, and if I want more I work for it. Apparently I haven't been as successful at maintaining that balance as I thought.
This has led, of course, to a new plan- kind of an old plan that is being revisited and revised for my life right now.
1. Every morning write down three things that I am grateful for. This could be the people in my life, the home that I live in, the new connections that I am making that are helping me to grow and learn, the education that I am so fortunate to have access to, or even the new coffee maker sitting on the kitchen counter. Big or small, if I am grateful, it gets added to the list. I only add 3 per day, but it is a continuous, always growing list.
2. Each day write down one thing that I want to accomplish in my life. Again this can mean grand goals like finishing my Masters degree, writing a book, developing educational resources, running a half marathon or it can mean something simple like learning how to bake an apple pie that you don't have to eat with a spoon, taking a ski lesson to keep up with my son on the slopes, or entering a dance competition. This is also a list that continues to grow.
These two lists will give me balance and perspective. I can dream big and small while still remaining grounded with who and what in my life are helping me to achieve these dreams.
Last weekend I watched the movie Bridesmaids with my daughter. Although it was a laugh out loud comedy as I had expected, it also had an unexpected message. The lead character is kind of pathetic as her life goes from bad to worst as she watches her best friend plan and live her dream wedding. At first I felt sympathetic towards Annie as she had lost her cake business during the Recession, she had a job in a jewelry store and had to help countless couples who were sickeningly in love select wedding rings, her best friend was getting married, she lived with a pitiable brother/sister landlord duo, and she "dated" a man who only met her when it suited him. But as her situations seemed to become more complicated, it was obvious that Annie was her own worst enemy. She was also quite adept at pinning the responsibility for her woes on other people and circumstances beyond her control, which was not the case. Finally, Megan- the tell it like it is bridesmaid- launches a physical attack on Annie to get her to fight back and take control of her life again. Instead of letting life beat you up, get up and fight. Look around at what you can do, at what you have, and fight.
Life wasn't hitting me on the head or flipping me backwards off the sofa. It didn't have to. All I needed to do was take notice of what is right in front of me, and to appreciate what and who I have in my life. Appreciate and dream, that is the new plan.
4 days ago