I think we could all stand to reflect more frequently on the many things in life that we are grateful for. Not only does gratitude help us to live more humbly, and appreciate our lives more deeply, but it may even make us happier and more giving people.
So, without further ado, here is my gratitude list for 2016!
I know I say this one every year, but that's because every year it is more true! :-)
You see, I have a theory about marriage... I think that when you marry very young, you don't really know exactly who you are yet, or at least, you don't have a very fixed structure regarding what you want. So when you get married, everything is all romance and roses for the first few years. But as you grow older, that "honeymoon phase" fades, and "reality" sets in, so that people find themselves having that "7-year itch," or whatever the case may be, as they discover that their spouse isn't the magical creature they once imagined.
When you get married when you're older, you have already done away with many of those youthful illusions, but the problem is, you have such a fixed idea of who you are and how you want your life to be that it is really a challenge at first to fit someone else into that life. But as you learn to soften and accept one another, and to make a new life together, marriage just gets better and better with time.
For me, the first year of marriage was by far the hardest year of my life. But each year has gotten substantially better, and it only continues with time. Year 2 was SO much better than the first, and year 3 so far is absolutely amazing! I feel so much more connected and in love with my husband than I ever did when we were first married. He truly is a wonderful man, and the laughter, light, and love of my life! I am grateful every single day that God brought us back together, and that he ended up being my husband.
2. My Health
It is interesting how much age changes your perspective on things. Turning 40 this year was a big milestone for me. I'm not sure why, but 40 has loomed in my mind for a long time as the age that I was most looking forward to achieving. It seems to mark some halfway point for me, and reaching that point feels like I am turning the corner into a richer, deeper part of life.
Some people speak of aging as awakening to your own mortality, and I suppose that will become more real for me as I get older, but for now, what it awakened me to, in part, is the importance of my health. Without health, I would not be able to do so many of the things that I want to do in life. And the things that I could do I may not be able to appreciate or enjoy as much.
While I have had back problems for many years, and continue to suffer from the occasional flare up, this summer I discovered that I am able to run again for the first time in nearly 10 years! While running isn't something that I really do on a regular basis, nor do I plan to, it filled me with a sense of joy to realize that it is something I can do if I want to. I can (literally) run out to the garden to pick some greens for supper. I can run to the mailbox in the morning to drop something off before work. I can run out through the "back 40" to check on the baby trees we planted last year. And as I do so, with every step, instead of stabbing pain, I feel nothing but gratitude. I am so grateful to my amazing chiropractor who has utterly changed the way I look at body mechanics, and given me the hope of a normal life where I can do the things I enjoy without constant fear of pain. I had not realized before just how much this fear (even more so than the pain itself) had diminished my life - or at the very least, made it much more stressful. (I try not to think about what I will do when he retires...)
Although, as you know, I have been interested in health for many years, this year in particular I have become more fascinated with learning about the connections between mind and body, and how these connections themselves influence health on many different levels. I look forward to continuing to learn about this, both in my research and in my own life as things change as I move to 41 and beyond.
3. My Mission
In last year's gratitude list, I mentioned my passion, but this year that passion has deepened and expanded into what I believe I can now call a mission. In fact, though it is ever-changing and evolving, my current iteration is as follows:
"My mission is to educate, awaken, and empower others to care for themselves, each other, and the planet."
I have moved from a passion for health, to a driven, almost obsessive desire to make a real difference in the world in the areas of holistic health and sustainable living. This obsession has been rather exhausting, to tell the truth, but I am determined to get to the point where I can make a full-time living serving in this way. I have worked and studied so hard, and learned so much this year, and it has been quite an amazing journey. I finally feel like I am coming to the point where I know what I'm supposed to be doing, and just as importantly, how to do it!
Stay tuned, dear reader, as I will be sharing more of my mission with you in 2017, and will let you know how you can participate!
And now, I want to know what you are grateful for? Post in the comments below, or send me an email, and share your gratitude for what life has given you this year!
Blessings and happy holidays to you,