Wednesday, January 27, 2016

52 Weeks of Gratitude: Family

As a kid, family was pretty cut and dry. Mom, dad, sister, brother, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, and the occasional family friends we were told to refer to as aunt or uncle. I grew up knowing that family was blood, who you were born to, and who gave birth to you.

I'm grateful for this version of family, for sure. Maybe 22 years ago, I had different feelings, but who among us wasn't different then?

When we moved to Philadelphia in 1998, we didn't know anyone aside from Miki's coworkers and one or two of my classmates. All of our friends and family were home, and we were away. The internet changed that, though. Early on, I haunted some forum or another for Tori Amos (OMG, I was going to love her forever) (I somehow haven't purchased any of her albums since Pele), and by virtue of following link after link, I found various webpages and weblogs, and found quasi-invisible friends. For a self-identifed shy girl (yes, I think of myself as shy, but maybe what I really mean is unconfident?), this was a fantastic way to talk to people without actually talking to people. Win!

But as the internet got faster, and bigger, and also somehow smaller, I started finding real people online that were like me - they shared my interests, or intellect, or sense of humor. I found my tribe.

My idea of family is now so much richer than when I was a kid. I don't think that's necessarily a profound statement, you know?



My life is so rich with friends that I consider family, and I wouldn't even know how to begin listing them all without ending up sounding like an awardee at the Oscars getting cut off as they go on and on remembering 5 more people that mean so much to them.

Also, combing the hard drive and FB for photos of friends and family reminds me that I just don't have enough photos of the people that mean the most to me. I think that needs to change. :-)

Saturday, January 16, 2016

52 Weeks of Gratitude: Miki

Here is a list of just some of the reasons I am grateful for and towards Miki:

He makes me coffee every morning.

He now understands when I counting stitches for knitting, and waits.

He's been a part of my life for just about 25 years.

He does not embarrass easily.

He accepts the craftiness.

He is ungrudgingly open, honest, and generous.

He will give you the shirt off his back. You might not want it, but it's the thought that counts, right?

He always knows the answer to "what do you want to do for dinner?" Delivery.

He is the best kind of horrible person.

He makes it easy to start the day.

He always can put a smile on my face and a spring in my step.

He cleans up pretty well, considering his unofficial title is now Professional Hobo.

Monday, January 04, 2016

52 Weeks of Gratitude: Why?

I think it's far too easy to get hung up on the things that make us feel less than grateful. Instead of focusing on the kindness you might have performed or witnessed, instead you focus on the lack of acknowledgement received. It's comfortable, in a way, to stay the course of not-grateful, forgetting along the way exactly why it is you might have been feeling ungrateful to begin with.

So, why gratitude? Why now?

Why not?

I miss updating this little blog, and the ungrateful me would justify the continued lack of blogging by thinking, "Well, only 1 or 2 or 3 people read this anyway... Why bother?" Sometimes, it's okay to be a little selfish - and I think it's even acceptable to be grateful for those flashes of selfishness. Why did I ever begin trying to create an online presence? For fame? Glory? Or for the satisfaction of expressing my thoughts and sharing ideas not for accolades but simply for the enjoyment of writing? It's completely wonderful if you, my audience, find humor or joy in these posts, but it's truly great if I do. Does that make sense?

This last year has not been the best for me and my circle of friends. And it became easier to NOT share anything - good or bad. But 2015 wasn't a total waste. I actually learned a lot about gratitude. I learned that it's not too late to make new friends. And I found that even as my heart broke watching Miki go through pretty much the worst experience of his life, I was grateful for the experience of being able to be present. To be in the moment, however sad it might have been. There were multiple days that I felt my own heart swell with gratitude - friends being there without invitation, strangers becoming friends, people in the very face of grief opening their arms to those they might not have ever otherwise considered talking to. I found myself again and again feeling more gratitude than not as the year wore on.

Maybe it's part of now being in my 5th decade (math nerds, you'll get it), but suddenly those trivial things that caused me to hold myself up in comparison to everyone and everything just no longer matter. We're all here for a similar reason, it's not a competition. You can have successes and I can not, and that doesn't mean I've lost. Or you've won. The inter-connectivity of gratitude is something that's become more apparent to me especially in this last year. Gratitude for love, life; for self and others.

I hope to explore this topic more over the next 52ish weeks, and I hope to revisit these posts next January and see where I end up. I hope you enjoy the introspective journey!