Tuesday, December 13, 2011

39 things I am thankful for

Another birthday has passed.  39 years on this planet and a lot of things have been going through my mind these days.  Obviously the last few weeks have been filled with a lot of loss.  I lost my job.  My beautiful girl Asher and then finally my Auntie E.  That in itself would be enough to make anyone stop to think, but then add the losses of the last 3 years.  My Uncle Steve.  My business.  My home. My life in California, all of my money and in a sense my independence.  Moving back "home" at this age was a huge pride swallowing event in my life.  Add all those together and it's no wonder that I have started losing other important things.  My sense of humor.  My joy in life. My confidence in myself....I could go on, and honestly for the past few years I have gone on and on and on in my head, to my family to those around me who - even with my not so pleasent personality at times - have still stuck by me and love me regardless.  As I lay in bed sick over the weekend, mourning my aunt, the nearing end of my 30's, missing my dog, an interesting thing happened to me.  I sat up yesterday, sick and all, looked around and decided that the chapter of loss is offically OVER in my life.  Done.  It's time to close that book!

Now I can't control life.  Bad thngs still happen, and with an alarming regularity, to all of us.  The only thing in the world I have any control over is how I view things.  I used to be a positive, upbeat, downright hyper-active spaz in love with life.  I have been the opposite of that for to long.  I have spent to much time dwelling on my mistakes, the things I don't have and the uncomfortable situations in my life, and not enough, well if I am being honest here, ANY time focusing on the things I do have.

I can't change my entire way of thinking over night, but as with anything - you can't get anywhere different without taking the very first step.  So I have decided, for every year I have been blessed to continue to breathe in and out and live, I will find something to be thankful for in my life.  Here we go.

1. My home.  I never in a million years saw myself at 39 still single and back living at home, but reality...I am SO lucky hat I had a home to come back to and a family who took me in with no questions asked.

2.  My Mother Elaine.  Yes a lot of the time living with my mom is like living with a teenage sister.  She borrows my things without asking, still can't figure anything computer oriented out becasue she knows I will do it for her - and we fight and call each other names.  However, she is taking care of me and supporting me, and our whole family in every way possible, and she never once makes me feel bad about it.   I'm so blessed that 39 years ago she had me.

3.  My step-mother Vicki.  I am so lucky that she married my dad, and helped raise me.  My childhood and life has always been filled with chaos and she has always been the calm port in whatever storm I have found myself in.

4.  My Siblings, Francesca, Kathleen and Sean.  I could write pages and pages on the things they have done for me and brought to my life and how they have helped me. I am so so unbelievably blessed to have every single one of them and the relationships we have.

5. CHASE!  My beautiful perfect nephew.  I am so thankful that my sister and I live near each other so I can share in the experience of watching him grow.

6. Putting my dog to sleep.  Yes I know that sounds bizarre, but I have been thinking about it.  So many horrible things COULD have happened to her like getting hit by a car etc, but didn't.  I had 12 wonderful years with her, and I was blessed to be there and hold her and give her a peaceful departure from this earth.  It's something you never forget and I am thankful I was able to do it.

So While I am on the - spin a bad thing into a good thing role...

7.  Living with my grandmother as she slowly slips into dementia.  I won't lie - this one is a really hard one, but how many people get to say they got to spend so much time with a grandparent in their final years.  Its one of the hardest things I have ever lived through, now, but I know someday I will be grateful for the time I got to spend with her.  (this is something I have to tell my self daily from now on, as I try not to lose patience, a trait I am lacking in)

8. Failing at and losing my business.  Another tough one, I have spent YEARS beating myself up about it but the experiences and benefits while I had it probably outweigh the bad.  Most importantly Failure - means you tried for something.  I would rather try and fail then live a life never trying for anything.

9.  Being diagnosed allergic to Gluten.  Ok not eating bread, pasta or pizza (hmmm I'm getting hunrgy now) SUCKS - however....it's better then the year plus I spent sick not knowing why.  Finding out now probably saved me from a whole host of worse health problems in the future.

10. My kitty cat's.  Pagoda is a little bastard, Lucy is a little fatty and at this very moment trying to climb up the Christmas tree,  but they bring joy to the entire house.  I guess I am a cat person now. 

11. Old Friends.  I mean what else can you say about people who know everything about you and love you anyway?  I'm REALLY thankful I have so many people from different times in my life I stay in touch with and am able to share my life with

12.  Facebook.  I know I know - but how else in todays day and age of being busy and living so far from so many of your friends can you stay in touch?  And Facebook on your birthday makes you feel pretty damn loved!

13.  New Friends.  No matter how old you get you always have the opportunity to make new friends, share experiences and the person you are and sometimes they even feel like friends you have known your whole life.  I have been fortunate to make a few of them since moving to Florida.

14. Losing my life in California and moving to Florida. Another one that has taken me some time to get to a positive place about - but if I hadn't moved I wouldn't have met some of the special people who are now in my life, wouldn't have been here for the birth of my nephew, wouldn't have...well the list goes on and on.

15. Puff Dragon Boat Racing team.  A sport I had never heard of with a group of people I would have never met any other way. Joining my team and the experiences we have shared have changed my life here in Florida, for the better.  My teammates are a constant source of inspiration to me.

16. My big linebacker shoulders.  They were hell in the 80's/90's time of shoulder pads but they make me strong.  Able to do so many things.

17.  On that note.  My Body.  While I have had a love hate relationship with the 20lbs that throughout my life I have lost and gained and lost and gained and...well you get it.  I may not have the body of a supermodel, but I have all 10 fingers, toes all my limbs etc.  Yes I have some achy joints and jacked up back but reality is my body serves me well, it is strong - gets stronger when I work it and gives me the ability to do and try any sport or activity I want.  I need to learn to appreciate it for all the things it continues to allow me to do.

18.  Living on the water.  For the last 16 plus years I have lived within a bike ride or walk to the ocean.  I mean how lucky am I?

19.  My creativity.  I may not be the best at, or can make a living at any of my hobbies, but am pretty passable at jewelry making, photography and dare I say writing?  Comes in handy for giving my family Christmas presents when I am broke.

20.  Being broke and in debt.  Yikes - this one was hard but I realized recently that I have not been a financially responsible person most of my life.  So the experience I am going through now, well lets just say it is serving to teach me better money management so when I DO make a lot of money in the future I will be able to handle it better.  (Fingers crossed)  Also makes me appreciate the little things so much more

Wow - only 20 so far.... I doubt anyone has read this far but this is for me so we plow on....

21. Being Single.  I don't always love this one, but in reality I can do whatever I want, go wherever I like and flirt with whomever I chose without having to worry about anyone else.  (I am totally willing to change that all when/if I meet the right person), but for now I will enjoy my situation instead of feel bad about it.

22.  My brain.  I'm no Rhodes scholar for sure, but I am more then smart enough to get by, to learn new things and learn from my mistakes (in theory).  I got half of my dad's engineering brain and half of my mom's creative brain.  Not to shabby.  Although without spellcheck - I would be lost.

23.  My parents getting a divorce.  I am thankful they did for so many reasons, but mostly because it means I was lucky enough to grow up with a large extended family that just keeps growing and growing.

24. Knowing how to change a flat tire.  Granted I had to teach myself on the fly on the side of 95 in my aunt and uncles car  - but its a skill I'll always have.  Now if I could only learn to drive stick shift.

25. Being a Godmother.  My Chole and her triplet siblings Mia and Harry  - not to mention their mother my oldest friend Jen are a huge blessings.

26. Sunsets.  Its funny what you take for granted.  15 years on the west coast - you get them all the time, but here on the east its harder and even more special to see a glorious technicolor sky.

27. Big Puffy Clouds.  You don't see them quite as often in Los Angeles, but here laying back and looking at the clouds and the shapes they make can be done almost daily.

28. Getting to witness my nephew being born.  Terrifying.  Messy.  Exhausting.  But one of the most awe inspiring moments I have ever been blessed to be a part of.  Watching my sisters strength and that beautiful boy emerging from her body. 

29. Cooking and Food.  mmm mmmm mmm. In particular sushi, fish tacos and my new love Pumpkin cheesecake. 

30.  My travels.  I may not have much of an opportunity to travel these days, but I sure have been to some incredible places, met amazing people seen things that take my breath away. 

Last 9....so many things

31.  My mothers friends here in Florida.  With a few exceptions, she has met some wonderful people who have become a part of our family and are supportive of us in so many ways.

32.  Flowers.  I think being raised by a woman who was a florist and always has to be surrounded by fresh flowers, its another thing I have taken for granted, but they do bring beauty and joy.  There really is nothing like getting a delivery of flowers.

33. The people in my life who have passed on.  I miss them terribly.  If there is such a thing as guardian angels - then I feel a lot better knowing they are up there on my side.

34.  My education.  I didn't appreciate it while I was in it but I was blessed to go to some pretty amazing schools.  So many people are not as lucky as I was.

35. Yoga.  When I do it, it helps my mind, my body and my soul.  I guess there is a reason its been around for so long.

36. My sister Kathleen's fiance Leo - soon to be my brother in law.  It feels wonderful to know your sister has found a partner who will always be there for her and take care of her no matter what.  I know he will.

37.  Laughter.  It is natures anti-depressant and my new year resolution is to do it WAY MORE OFTEN.

38.  My eyes.  Because I am lucky enough to see, really see all the beauty that is around me if I use them.

And finally

39.  Another year of being here.  Having the ability to live, to change, to grow and experience everything, the good, the bad  the really really bad and the wonderful. 

Here's to my last year in my 30's. 

"your 20's are for making mistakes, your 30's are for learning the lessons....." 

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