When you think about your life right now, in all its glorious and perplexing midlife complexity, what are you thankful for?
1. My husband; 2. Almost six years in remission; 3. The freedom to live part-time in another country.
The little things. And the big things. The sunlight streaming through a winter window, highlighting the colors on my dogs' fur as one of them recovers from a big surgery that I'm grateful to have found the finances to pay for. The monthly group call with my siblings on this day of the month each month this year marking the passage of time since our father passed eleven months ago today. The love that I have found and cultivated and created and embraced and been so lucky to come across in the form of a partner, friends, extended chosen family. The stack of library books, the accessibility of streaming television, the Christmas music, the clothes that fit a very changing body, the power of hugs.
My kids, and this may seem obvious, but I’m grateful for their love and trust. As a single mom single handedly raising them, it’s... a lot. And I fantasize about days, weeks, away from them BUT until I get that freedom again, I’m grateful for their big tender hearts and their love.
Based on the nightmare I had before waking up Thanksgiving morning, I’m thankful I no longer work in an industry where being on the receiving end of a profanity-laced tirade because I forgot to assign a photographer to cover a court hearing could be an actual real-world possibility.
Grateful for all of the small things, too, like the gorgeous sunset I just watched, which always makes me feel connected to my parents, both gone now. I'm grateful that my ex-husband and I have reached the stage where we spent the holiday together with our kids, as we always want them to know they still have a family, even though we are no longer together. And I'm of course thankful to my two kids, even through the challenges of being a single mother, for my daughter, who has social anxiety and who started community college and has made new friends, and for my son, who has autism and intellectual disabilities and has truly blossomed this last year and a half, with the help of his wonderful team and all those who have helped him to reach so many milestones, however small. I'm also grateful for the community of writers who sustain me, who are scattered all over the country and the work family I have in our academic program. I'm also grateful to still have a job, as one program I teach in just had massive cuts in the liberal arts. It's not an easy time for so many who have just lost jobs with no warning. It's so important to find things to be grateful for, with so much of the world in such a precarious state. Thanks for this post and this community.
Here's some of what I wrote in my journal yesterday, with clarifying comments.
I'm grateful for:
1. Having enough money to buy freedom. Many people can't afford what I pay to live in a nice furnished apartment during the divorce process.
2. My sons, both of them.
3. My parents, who are 86 and 90. I am grateful that they live nearby and I can go to their house for Thanksgiving dinner.
4. My friends who check in on my and are up for adventures.
5. The ability to walk and run. (Finally recovered from getting Covid in August)
6. Blue sky, grey sky, rain, and trees. I appreciate living in such a beautiful area. (Near Seattle)
The tenacity to start over. And over, and over, and over. Also, a warm Lab by a woodstove on a frosty Vermont morning. 🐕🔥❄️🌄
I am grateful for tenacity to find my (our?) truth and live as authentically as I can being true to me and being kind and compassionate toward myself and others. This morning as I reflect on the memoir I am getting very close to publishing (Yippie!) I an so in touch with how grateful I am for my journey with its struggles and challenges as well as its gifts and joys!
Heart full for the clarity writing gives me (and hopefully others). As well as the many gifts in my life including my family, my health and my surroundings (trees that greet me on my walks and runs with arms outstretches to the sky as if standing there saying to me "you are strong" and "reach for what you want".
I am most grateful - believe it or not, for the difficult experiences of the past few decades that brought me to this place of peace and acceptance. Knowing myself as I do now, with all my flaws and short comings AND my value to the world, have rendered me to a place of peace where I no longer care a single iota what people think of me. There is something very freeing in not feeling trapped or governed by what other people think I should do or think. The heartbreaks were actually the building blocks for where I am now and although at the time I wasn't sure I could manage to survive let alone ever be happy again...I'm happy to say that I was wrong.