Happy Wednesday, Friends!
I know that this definitely isn’t Tuesday, but today is World Gratitude Day. And in my way of trying to include whatever celebrations the Internets or some social media feed provides, so best to piggyback them, am I right? I try to show gratitude whenever I can. I don’t have a gratitude journal, but I do make an effort for Grati-Tuesday.
Still, it feels like World Gratitude Day trumps Grati-Tuesday by the scale of the effort. I mean dedicated WORLD day feels important, doesn’t it? Up in Canada, we’re speeding along toward Thanksgiving in a few weeks – everyone dutifully thinks about what they’re thankful for before we all tuck into a deep fried turkey and The Family’s secret savoury bread stuffing. It’s relatively easy to say Thank You when someone, say, holds a door open for you at the grocery store, or hands your double-double through the drive-through window. It’s certainly harder to be thankful for the more esoteric or existential things that are always around. And I get how easy it is to become a little crispy around the edges when there are so many of life’s pebbles forever trying to find their way into your shoe. So it’s good to have a day to reset, and if that day is only once a year, then that’s better than not at all. Your journey isn’t my journey. That’s OK. So especially today, friends, take inventory. Do a gratitude audit of your life.
When I’m feeling anxious, the canary in the coalmine for me is that I get these weird little blisters on the sole of my right foot. I can put all the tee-tree oil in the universe on there, but if I don’t deal with whatever it is that’s bothering me, the blisters remain. So when the blisters show up, I go to the beach to walk and take deep breaths and look for beach glass. I could (and do) walk and do breathwork here at home, but I live within a scant 90 minutes to 3 of the 5 Great Lakes, so it’s relatively easy to do a factory reset whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed. As I walk, there are thousands of rocks on those beaches, but I always manage to find the little gems of glass, edges worn dull and frosted by a decade or 2 or 10 in the lake. Usually the glass is white or green, sometimes brown. But occasionally I find a piece of cobalt blue or red or a frosted marble, and I thank the lake for the gift. And it’s never lost on me that the gifts from the lake that I find among the ancient rocks on the beach are the catalyst for the thoughts of gratitude that I can pull out of the daily grind that brings me to the beach in the first place. It’s an elegant dance, for sure.
So what else am I grateful for this week?
In a scant 4 days, it’s my 50th birthday. I don’t have any weird feelings about this. Many of my friends are not my age, be it younger or older. And many of my same-age friends have already had their birthdays earlier this year, so the “ZOMG! How are we 50!” seems to have worn off. And I know you don’t ask a lady her age, but I’m not going to be cagey or coy about it, either. I’ve got fewer days ahead of me than I have behind me. I’m skirting the edges of my next change of life and the cycle length to beat is 117 days. I’m good with all that.
I mentioned all this to my nail tech, as one does, and she mused that people who push back against milestone birthdays do so because they have some imaginary list of things they feel (or society feels) they should have accomplished by said birthday. I don’t really have such a list. I’ve been married for fully half my life, I grew a child and helped him grow into a man. I have a dog who’s been around for a full quarter of my life. I have a house with a garden and an office where I work from home every day at a job I enjoy. My parents are in relatively good health and I’ve got some pretty great friends.
Not that you need most of those things – a partner, marriage, kid, dog, or house – in order to be a Proper 50 Year Old.
And yeah, I’ve got a few health things I wish I didn’t have. And there’s that one closet in the house that I wish there was a better way to organize. But you know, I’ve got a pretty sweet deal.
So as I reflect back on all that, there’s a lot to be grateful for: I’m grateful for the genetics that make my grey hair arrive in cool looking streaks, I’m grateful that my complexion seems to age slower than 18 year old me or even 35 year old me expected it to. But I’m also grateful for Fresh Cosmetics that is my hyaluronic acid insurance policy. I’m grateful to the job that downsized that meant I could move back across the province to the house I love. I’m grateful for all the idiots that I dated so I could be in the right place to find my Mr. Right. I’m grateful that my kid has the charm and tenacity expansion packs enabled, and that he’s such a great adult. I’m grateful that my large breed dog hasn’t any of the large breed dog issues (like short lifespan and hip dysplasia). I’m grateful for the friends I scored because our kids wanted to be Army Cadets. I’m grateful for a job that provides me with smart, funny, caring co-workers and a mission statement that I can get behind. I’m grateful that job prioritizes mental health and career growth and life-long learning.
If you can to be anything today friends, choose to be superduper grateful.