Remembering Gratitude When You’re Not Really Feeling Too Grateful

photo(72)Someone nominated me to take part in that Gratitude Challenge that’s been going around on Facebook over the past week or so and my initial response was, “Fuck you.”

When I first saw the notification from Facebook pop up on my iPhone screen that I’d been tagged in something, I was coming off of a weekend spent by myself and feeling – I’ll be honest – kind of down-in-the-dumps. Which makes no sense because I had a really fun weekend, for the most part.

But I spent most of Sunday, which at least here in New Jersey was a pretty stellar day weather-wise, inside, emerging only for a quick trip to Trader Joe’s. I then started guzzling wine promptly at 5 p.m. and watched Netflix until the kids got home later that night from their dad’s.

And I don’t know if it’s my plummeting estrogen levels at this time of the month, my unemployment status or an as-of-yet undiagnosed case of ADD, but I feel incredibly unmoored and unfocused about what I am doing with my life. And having to fill up my weekend with activities to help me forget that the family that I worked so hard to create is fractured is exhausting.

I’m cranky, y’all.

So I stomped around on Monday gritting my teeth and muttering a lot but woke up Tuesday with a much smaller chip on my shoulder. I started to remember just how good my life really is.

It’s ridiculous, my woe-is-me attitude, really, because in theory I have absolutely everything: my health, four healthy children, a (pretty nice) roof over my head, a brain in my head, thin ankles. I need to stop acting like such a little bitch, moping around and feeling sorry for myself and give thanks.

And so, herewith, the Top 10 Things in Absolutely No Order For Which I’m Thankful:

  1. Call the Midwife: Mom, I know you’ve been telling me to watch the British series for a couple of years but I resisted. But as with many things in life – like that time you told me to pack a rain jacket to go camping with my Girl Scout troop and I resisted and then spent the weekend cold and wet – you are often right.
  2. The Girl Whisperer: The man stands in my family room twice a week and makes me and my girlfriends do more squats and push ups (real ones, like, on our feet) than I could ever have thought possible two years ago. He’s freed me from jumping jacks and running and my back and knees have never felt happier and my legs have never looked better. But more importantly, in the 18 months I’ve been working with him, I’ve never eaten better. I now eat stuff like quinoa and smoothies with egg whites in them as opposed to CheezIts and Doritos. What’s even better is that the healthier eating has trickled down to how I feed my kids, too. I can’t remember the last time I grilled a hot dog, and we should all be grateful for that.
  3. Checking the School Calendar by Chance: Had I not just done that, I would have missed Back to School Night at our middle school tonight.
  4. Turning Off the AC: I am as thankful for and dependent upon air conditioning as the next person but was glad to turn it off Sunday and let the cool air in from outside. I like hearing the birds tweeting and the neighbor’s kids riding their Big Wheels around the neighborhood. It makes me feel connected to the rest of the world without the Internet’s help.
  5. My Trip South Next Weekend: Okay, they might think I complain about them here incessantly, but I had a really nice summer with my two college kids and really miss them. So I’m looking forward to seeing them next weekend and drinking Jungle Juice before a football game. Good times.
  6. My Journals: While some people may dispute the accuracy of some of the stories I tell here, I do have a safe-full of journals in which I’ve been taking notes for the last decade. Sure, there are a lot of holes in some events that have occurred, but I can totally tell you how much I weighed on March 21, 2012 and how many glasses of wine I drank the night before. The journals have also come in handy recently as I’ve tried to tackle some bigger subjects in my writing and unearthed descriptive nuggets like the broken television trapped behind plexiglass at our hospital psych ward and lying on a boat in the Aegean and hearing the sounds of rooster crowing at dawn.
  7. Fortunate Timing: I went paddle boarding on the river Saturday afternoon and even though I had heard on the news that there were storm warnings and my two friends and I heard the thunder while digging through the choppy water, we kept on going. Finally, one of the girls was like, “I think I’m turning around, y’all,” and as we changed direction, we noticed the giant black clouds quickly moving towards us. Luckily, it was only as we were hoisting the big boards out of the water that the gusts of wind really kicked in and white caps formed along the river where we were just paddling frantically moments before. We took comfort in the house margaritas at a nearby bar where we told anyone who would listen about our adventure for hours afterwards. And yes, we totally learned a valuable lesson about the force of Mother Nature. You do not fuck with her.
  8. My Cat: She made me write that.
  9. My Blog Readers: I went for a walk in a nearby park yesterday and ran into a woman I know who immediately started telling me how much she could relate to something I had just written about here. And I’ve gotta tell you, that happens at least once a day, running into someone at the market or at a local restaurant who tells me they read my blog. And if you’re a writer you know that it never gets old. Your ego would never let that happen. I love hearing that people can relate to the things I write about that are going on in my life and that sometimes I even make them laugh. It helps me know that I’m moving in the right direction in my life.
  10. Friends With Benefits: I am blessed with being able to call a ton of people “friend.” They sit on the beach with me and are happy to share their limes and Coronitas. They invite me to their place in Florida and put up with me after one too many Hendricks cocktails. They invite me to their gorgeous beach house – like, on the beach beach house – and feed me things like Halibut Oreganata with Pesto and Peach Macaroon Crisp and then take the time to email all the recipes, just in case. And they nominate me on Facebook to remember all that I have to be grateful for and then graciously remain silent when I act like a bitch about it.

Oh, there’s one more thing! I’m always super grateful when you guys sign up to get my posts delivered right to your inbox. I love knowing I’ve made your life a little easier! What are you grateful for?

10 thoughts on “Remembering Gratitude When You’re Not Really Feeling Too Grateful

  1. I love Call the Midwife! It’s so intense sometimes, and I really should read the books. I am grateful that I get to stay home with my son. I am grateful for finding good blogs!

  2. I love your blog. I wish you lived in Michigan, we’d be friends I just know it. This post sounds like one I’ve been working on for the past few days. I’m having a mid life crisis.

    • OMG am having a temporary crisis, too. Yes, move to New Jersey and you can hike through the woods with me and listen to me complain about my life. I just did this with another girlfriend and am sure she can only take so much of me and my griping. Glad I’m not the only one in a rut. xo

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