Some days I don’t feel the gratitude. And those days, I feel the effects. It’s taken me time and practice to be able identify what is going on for me when I’m having a bad day. In fact, these days I feel less inclined to try to figure it out. Not because I’ve become complacent, but just because I am more at peace and less attached to having the answers. Being able to figure out my feelings and their catalysts was a safety blanket for me. A sort of “identity” that I relied heavily on to make me “me”. “Deep & spiritual” was my thing.
Letting go of that attachment to having the answers, the reasons and the solutions to every thought and feeling I ever have was a massive relief. It wasn’t a conscience decision, it was just something that happened and I only realized once it had happened. I don’t think it can be forced. It’s a serenity I didn’t know could exist until I felt it – how could I then have hoped for it?
However, even with this revolutionary ability to just be ok with not being ok, I still have feelings that require introspection. The difference now though is that it is less about “what am I remembering?” – usually referring to past events, thoughts and feelings – and more about “what am I forgetting?” – usually referring to the things that make me happy and the things I am grateful for.
As a twenty-something, I have been going through some pretty formative years. I have a budding new career, enriching new hobbies, passionate interests, and valuable new friends. I am single and without children, so building a life I love to love on my own has been an interesting and ongoing journey. I spent lots of time, years even, identifying who I really am, what really makes me happy and what I really enjoy doing. While I believe there will always be more growing and learning to do, I am quite complete about how I enjoy spending my time and with whom, in the most general sense of course. Anything less would be limiting.
I know the things that make me feel grateful to be alive. Just sometimes I forget to do these things. I get busy, I get lazy, I get despondent, and especially when I’m emotional, which is obviously the worst time for it. Forgetting the things I have to be grateful for and the reasons I am grateful for this life is one of the most destructive things I can allow to happen. The only things that supports me out of this “rut” of what is fundamentally self-pity is a mental or literal list of the things I love, and a quiet moment alone to imagine the feelings they induce. So right now, today, here is my list:
- Early morning runs along the sea front. The feeling of flying, of freedom. The unparalleled sight of the sun rising over the stadium. The way it makes me smile every time.
- Mountain hikes alone with my dog. The peace, the quiet, the fresh air, the views.
- My bff. The way we laugh, the way we say what the other is thinking, the way we can say things with just a look and people around us have no idea what we just said. It makes me feel safe and understood.
- The opportunities available to me if I work for it. These thoughts make me excited.
- My inner strength. My ability to be empowered by a disruptive event, as opposed to falling victim. These events generally make me grateful to myself, and often the event itself. That is empowering.
Sometimes I disconnect from these feelings. Not the experiences – I keep up the activities in most cases. But I disconnect from them. Usually because I am distracted by something negative and draining. It’s time to reconnect, Jemima. Re-engage. Be present. Once again, I am left feeling super grateful for this life.