I considered some time ago throwing in the towel for this gratitude blog, just because I felt I had done what I set out to do.
That is, I now know how to practice gratitude daily in novel ways.
But a part of me feels like I’m not done in this area, not yet anyway.
So for now, I’ll keep going. 💪
How did I celebrate my blog milestone today? Well after not being sick all winter, my body went ‘stuff this’ and threw in its own towel today. 🙄
Enter panadol and tea.
But in true gratitude, glass half-full fashion, I made chicken soup, and Marion’s hoisen beef noodles, and I’m happy that I made some food for my body (and soul) that’ll hopefully get me back into tip-top shape.
There’s always worse out there to put your own woes in perspective, and remember, there’s always better waiting for you. ❤❤
Two appointments on the other side of town, visiting my parents and sister and fam in between that, and then a big writers meet-up at the end of the night back home.
It’s been a lot.
It’s been a day of a lot of things. Hope. New directions. New people. New plans.
I’m a glass half-full gal, and things are starting to feel right. That glass is filling up again.
With HOPE. 🤞
I’m going on, rambling a bit, I know. I just don’t really know where to rest my creative mind, to release these thoughts from, what to centre on when much has given me happiness today.
But I will talk about nature, because it inspires me.
Specifically, my parents and my sister’s backyard.
I used to love spending time in the backyard of my childhood home. All those memories, all those fun times, so much joy within those trees and the shady spots. I was amazed and surprised then, when I found myself loving my parents’ NEW backyard, finding beauty in little pockets of grass, verdant greenery full and lush underneath your feet, life brimming and blooming from the smallest spring of herb, to a wide-reaching leaf of a fern.
That beauty extends equally to my sister’s backyard.
I was admiring this gorgeous tree, sprouting golden Autumn leaves. We were in her backyard sitting and talking, and so many times I was accidentally witness to a yellow leaf floating easily to the ground.
Before my very eyes.
It was a magical sight.
And I realised later when I headed off, how I find beauty in both of their backyards, and how that must mean something more… for those we love, we find the beauty inherent everywhere, all around them, because they are love.
We are doing renovations at the moment… small ones, yet they will hopefully be long, beautiful and lasting.
(On us, or our backyard do you think????)
One day I hope, someone will look at our yard and see the beauty lying in wait, wanting to be found.
I was working from home when an old work colleague called me.
She told me that a mutual friend of ours, our old work friend, had died.
She cried, and I said ‘Oh my God,’ repeatedly.
It wasn’t that much of a shock. In terms of, we knew she had been battling a serious illness for years now.
But she had been winning. She had been beating it, time and time again, and I really felt like her bubbly personality and upbeat attitude would actually kick its arse.
I really did. I thought she had.
I read her posts on facebook, and I also followed her journey, taking in eagerly her updates that she was getting better, she was part of the small percentage that was still alive since her original diagnosis, watching her face on the screen of my mobile, all happy and positive, the way I used to see her when we worked together.
Back in the party shop days, when we were both in uni. We’d usually work the same Friday night shift, 4pm-8pm, and she’d fill me in on her weekend plans, the clubs she would frequent, the friends she would go out with. She was so bubbly. So positive. I don’t think I ever saw her mad. EVER. Even when a sad or sore topic crossed her lips, all it did was lower her voice, make her eyes go distant for only a moment…
But then she’d be back. That happy girl we all knew.
Today on the phone, my old work friend cried. I just stared at my computer screen, my mind blank with shock. I told her I’d call her back to have a good chat… I was at work, and had to process it all. She urged me to check out the facebook page that confirmed the sad news.
We hung up, and I knew I shouldn’t have… not just because I was at work, but because my mind was already becoming a jumbled mess.
But I did. I looked up the facebook page and burst into tears.
Why? Why her? How? She was 2 years younger than me. She was 34 when she died, months ago, and we’d only found out now. My heart sobbed. I felt sad all over. I thought of her again and again, her fight, her courage, her strength…
I struggled to think of memories. They were from so long ago, over a decade now. But slowly they came back, more and more.
Her long nails that she kept immaculate, strong and healthy despite all the balloons we tied and dust we encountered.
I remembered her 21st birthday. It was in a huge hall and she had hundreds of people there. She was dating a guy she was rapt about at the time, but he ended up to be a bit of a douche. I have to say, I wasn’t surprised about him when she later told us.
But I was beyond floored to hear the news of her death today.
Why? How? How did this happen? She had a loving family. A wide circle of friends.
She was going places. She loved her job. She was motivated. Dedicated. hard-working. Fun and cheeky and hilarious.
How did this happen?
This afternoon, my thoughts went into a deep, dark place. I cried over my keyboard, and then Hubbie came home for lunch and I cried some more.
He just nodded. He understood.
I told him I was scared. “What’s the point of life… we’re all leading towards death, or heading towards watching all our loved ones die. I’m scared to love anyone.”
I struggled with these thoughts. To and fro I went, battling, thinking of her, thinking how life was scary, life was unfair… life didn’t ask you. Things happened.
Things just happened.
Nothing mattered anymore. All this coronavirus crap… seriously who cared?
We were alive! We were breathing. Hell even if I felt pain somewhere, it meant I was alive.
I was feeling. Breathing.
A few little things made me realise what was important in the second part of the day. I finished work, and instead of rushing off to do home-schooling, and start the whole routine of getting jobs done, I sat with baby girl. Watched her draw with some colouring pens she’d re-discovered.
We had our coffee break on the balcony.
I used my eyes to look at the water.
My hands to wave at the passing neighbour.
I smelt the coffee with my nose.
I felt the sunshine on my face.
I heard the wind breathing as it wrapped the warmth of Spring around us.
I was alive.
We took a walk around the block. I needed it. We looked at houses. We counted street signs. We laughed. Touched leaves. Ran.
At home, I read, on whim. I’ve been holding back, trying to not read as much in order to motivate myself to catch up on my Book Reviews for my blog… but it’s made my soul sad. My soul wants to read. I want to read.
So I read a chapter just before dinner.
Yes, if you looked at it deeply, darkly… we were all leading to inevitable death. Ours, or everyone around us.
And we didn’t know what would come first.
Bleak, yes. Not very glass half-full at all.
But we had this life to live… and to love, was to live. We had to spend our time on this earth making the most of it, enjoying the little moments, using our senses, experiencing them, and being grateful that we were granted time on this earth at all.
Doing what we wanted. What made us feel good, in our core. I realised I had really followed my heart today, because the news of our work friend passing was so upsetting, I had to do something to make myself feel better…
I am still so profoundly sad. I think of her and I feel like crying all over again. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe she’s not here anymore.
Despite everything, I spent my time doing something for me today. Something to make me smile through my sadness. Something to make me happy through my tears.
And it was made all the more meaningful tonight. Baby girl kept asking for kiss after kiss after hug after hug from us, as she lay in bed tonight. It became a joke to her, saying “one more,” every time we moved back.
Lucky for me, I somehow forecast this crap ( I have become strongly accustomed to expecting all kinds of shit, yes even for this glass half-full gratitude gal) and last week when baby girl was at school, came across this $16 puzzle at ‘the cheap shop.’
You know, ‘the cheap shop.’ That budget dollar shop where you’ll find onesies, kitchen accessories, cat litter bags, 50 cent greeting cards, 57 different variety of candles, a range of quirky homewares you think you need (but really you don’t) and also, some kind of party/decorating station in one corner of the shop.
All at below reasonable prices.
It was here I went “a puzzle might come in handy soon.”
And I had to get the most trickiest one yet.
A billion cat faces, mwa ha ha.
It meant that today, we had to pack up the completed Frozen puzzle that’s adorned our dining room table for the past several weeks.
If you find and follow me on Insta, you’ll see the delicious anti-OCD video action.
Anyway, we learnt upon opening it tonight that it’s split up into 6 categories… that is, A, B, C, D, E and F. Those letters are at the back of each puzzle piece, so by sorting them alphabetically, well half the work is kinda done.
Such a great idea. Well, we better get cracking then…
Today I took out the saw. Both in the literal and metaphorical sense.
The first time it was intentional. I literally went to the garage, got out Hubbie’s saw, and took to the task of pruning old branches from my rose bushes with focus and determination. I knew what I had to do. I had been planning to do it for months. I took joy in the process.
Sawing. Cleansing. Removing the old to make way for the new. A new stage was emerging. Soon the dry leafless branches would be filled with green foliage and ravishing ruby red roses. 🌹
Tonight… again the same.
But instead I took out the saw… metaphorically.
This one wasn’t planned.
I didn’t go into it with purpose. It was something I had been kind of putting off.
But yet like the rose bushes, it was something that needed to happen.
I paused. Hesitated. Sure I knew what HAD to be done… I had known for years. I didn’t accept it though. Recently, this year I knew I had to take out the largest tool in my figurative shed, and rid myself of the negativity, the anger, the frustrations and deep-seeded hurts that had planted and manifested themselves in my body.
You would think letting go of such harmful things would be easy, favoured, wanted even… but often we hold onto our hurts, because they are so familiar. They are all we know. Sure moving on is most beneficial, but it requires starting again… and then there is forgiveness.
The thing that has struck me most about forgiveness is this: you don’t forgive for those that have hurt you… you forgive to lighten your heart, soul, mind and body, and give yourself the freedom to live your life unweighted by unnecessary hurts.
I always knew this… do you think it was easy to implement, in spite of the sadness?
No. This glass half-full gratitude girl has been struggling for YEARS.
But tonight, a change. I took little steps… and maybe the fruits of my labour won’t show themselves for a little while… they won’t sprout green leaves and red roses like my cherished flowers as soon… but there is sign of life.
Seedlings have been planted, and my saw has taken to the old ways with understanding and gentleness.
Yes, you can be gentle with a saw.
Really, there is to be nomore.
Remember… do it for yourself. You are the one that matters. The saw is in your hands.
And a lot of parents nowadays shit me with their attitude about having them.
Because, they don’t get it, but… they want it ALL.
They wanna have kids, but they also want to have the exact same life they used to have before kids. They want mini versions of themselves, but they don’t want to do the work needed to actually raise them and be responsible about it all. They think having little people will be fun, but they want everything to be constant cupcakes, lollipops and games.
Guess what? Suckitup.
As my Mum always says… something has to give. You honestly cannot have it all. And I am a glass half-full gal talking here. And if you think you are managing to have it all…. guess what?
You are not ‘giving’ where it is important. Sorrynotsorry.
What I am talking about has nothing to do with giving things up in your life. Sure, you can still do the things you enjoy… to an extent. You see, it is about a whole lot of compromise and sacrifice. Like, shitloads of it.
Things I was thinking of tonight as I was out with my family.
Because it was a family function you see, and we have no babysitters to look after baby girl for anything like this, like EVER… but also, baby girl being at the stage and age she is at, we actually want her to come with us.
So let’s say, our intentions lie somewhere there in the middle.
But boy, it is still HARD.
Especially when they find themselves pissed off for no apparent reason.
It was a roller coaster ride Iswear.
It was frustrating, and tiring, and long, and honestly I was pulling my hair out at times, wanting to bash my head against the toilet cubicle wall, so shitty I became with some events of the night.
With the words ‘sacrifice’ going through my head.
So we did. In the name of looming beds, and family, and a happier child, we went home… we sacrificed. But not before baby girl pulled me onto the dance floor.
And you see… as shit as times like this can sometimes be… that mirror ball and that girl, still make it all worth it.
On this day, the 30th of December, I can’t help but reflecting on the year that has passed…
I have grown. I have changed.
I have felt extreme lows that have physically rocked me.
I have felt dizzying highs that have surrounded my head in iridescent clouds.
Combined this has led me to a balance of in-between. Of remaining hopelessly optimistic as I travel through life, yet also being anxiously cautious of any shocks that may spring up unannounced.
With the cyclical nature of life, I am still happy. I am grateful for what I have, today. Every time that I observe something good, I am so happy for it, because I know that like everything, nothing lasts forever.
This stark truth keeps me paranoid, but the glass half-full gal in me ignores it until the very last moment.
I have what I need. Sure there are things that I want… but I remind myself of the important things. Of Hubbie and Baby Girl. Their love, their health. There are challenging days, and sometimes even tears, but I think the laughter we share as a family trumps that all.
Next year has a lot in store. So many changes. So much uncertainty and confusion, yet there is excitement in the unknown.
All the possibilities… what will eventuate? What will proceed? I am not alone in my life upheavals, with Baby Girl and Hubbie going through changes of their own… growing up, moving on, and discovering life.
We never stop discovering life.
So I am content. I am content in this not-knowing. It keeps me on edge and primed for action.
I am grateful with what I have now. Everything happens for a reason, and sometimes not having the things that you want is because there is a greater plan for you.
We aren’t meant to know it all. Just, let it go.
In this moment, life is good. And for that, on this second last day of 2018, I am supremely grateful.
Uh oh. It’s becoming a thing now. Having the word ‘couch’ in a post heading with a number following it, makes me feel a bit lazy and guilty that I should be so happy about sitting on the couch.
But I need to put things in perspective.
Yesterday I was ill while on the couch. Because of that I spent the whole day doing ‘nothing.’ I was tired, hot, felt deflated, and actually couldn’t wait for the day to be over with. I wanted to fast forward to night-time and go to sleep already. That from a glass half-full gal.
The only way to move past it was to say goodbye to it.
But today? Today I was more than happy to sit on the couch… healthy… with my family… after I had been away at work.
With a glass of red.
Some ice cream.
Baby girl’s head resting on my lap.
As we watched The Bachelorette 😉
And it was the nicest moment ever. Things generally are amazing though, when you are feeling better again…