I sat on my patio, book in my lap and cool glass of chardonnay in my hand, and I looked up. I saw the thick-trunked aspen that my husband planted nearly a decade ago and suddenly realized just how big it has grown over the years. I listened to the rustle of leaves and the distance meow of our raggamuffin cat and felt a sudden melting of cares. For once, I was truly content. It was one of those moments you want to freeze in time, hold onto tightly with both hands and not let go. Yet, like a brilliant sunset, holding on tightly only diminishes the beauty of the moment, so you must simply be fully present in it, and then let it go. In this loud, fast, distraction-laden life, I crave those moments of total contentment.
My house is too small. We live too far away from work and school. My car needs an oil change. Who am I kidding? I want a new car. My kids fight too much. Work is sometimes boring, and my husband leaves his socks on the floor. None of this stuff went away in that calm moment on a recent Saturday afternoon. But for once I felt truly at ease. This is my life. And good or bad, ups and downs, I love it.
I like to think I’m a pretty positive person, but I’ll admit that I get caught up in what I don’t have. I want the perfect job where I only go to work when I want to and get paid gobs of money for it. Yeah, that’s my dream world. I want my husband to pick up his $&%#*! dirty socks! I want my kids to get along with each other and magically turn into the perfect little humans. I want a garden that doesn’t need weeding. I want a dog that won’t shed all over my couch. I want. I want. I want. But in moments like these, I have to remember: I have. I have. I have.
I’ve been blessed with a family that loves me, and I have two beautiful daughters who somehow know when to rest their heads on my shoulder and simply say, “Mommy, you’re the best.” I have a patio shaded by towering trees that take my breath away when they seem to blaze green in the sunlight. Sure, my garden is a lost cause… this year… but I have room to grow my own food, and water piped directly into my house. Think about that: water on demand at any time I want it!
November is when we’re all reminded to be grateful for our lives, freedom, and piles of roasted turkey. But I’m challenging myself to feel gratitude now, every day. It’s amazing the peace one feels when the day’s worries fade to the background and gratitude is brought into focus. For me, it reminds me that I’m right where I’m supposed to be. I’m experiencing life’s highs and lows simply because I am alive. I am living MY life, and if I’m grateful for it, I don’t have to worry what other people think about it.
Let’s all play Pollyanna’s “Glad Game.” I’m glad my dog sheds on the couch, it gives me a reason to pull out the vacuum and finally get that line of crumbs that collect in the cushion creases. I’m glad my car needs an oil change, it means I’ve driven 3,000 miles (ok, um, closer to 6,000, but don’t tell my mechanic!) since my last change and have memories of family road trips to show for it. I’m glad I have dirty socks to pick up, it shows that I have a hard-working husband whose worst flaw when he comes home from work is that he somehow doesn’t know what a laundry hamper looks like. It even provides me a small way to show my love for him by doing his laundry and ensuring he has clean socks to wear to work… where he gets paid to help pay for this house that we are so lucky to live in. Wow, when the glad-train starts chugging, it really rolls, doesn’t it!
I’ve been accused of being a Pollyanna, and the accusation isn’t usually meant as a compliment. But I DO take it as a compliment because tapping into that hopeful, grateful side isn’t always an easy thing to do and I’m proud of myself when I can do it. So what are you grateful for today? Have you ever experienced those moments of total contentment? Share your Glad Game in the comments!