In the spirit of keeping some positivity in what could otherwise be a fairly gloomy blog, this year I want to commit to finishing each month with a post on things I am grateful for that month. I’m going to push myself to list ten things per month and to look for the silver lining even in the bad things.
Not every bad thing will have a silver lining, and some months will have far more good than bad, but I like being happy and I am trying to wire my brain to go to a happy place more than a sad place.
Before I begin, I want to note that I do not want the fact that I or other chronically ill bloggers do this as a stick to bludgeon those who don’t. Depression and anxiety can’t be cured simply by “choosing happiness,” and the realities of chronic illness are that happiness can be hard to find. It is not the duty of the ill to be positive.
This sickly sausage, however, is going to try. Without further ado, this is what I’m grateful for in January:
1) Three weeks of holiday
As readers will know, last year I made a very quick and terrifying decision to leave my old job and go into a different role. Between leaving the old and starting the new, I had about three weeks without work. This let me relax properly, let go of the tension that I had built up during the year, get on top of some outstanding domestic tasks, and really focus on my health. I was able to use the time to run, swim, sleep, play computer games, take mornings slowly. I was able to build some good habits around fitness, getting 5,000 steps a day and doing some form of exercise daily, even just walking the dog (who was delighted to have me home).
2) Beach time
After not having gone to the beach in ages, in January I got to go twice. I love being at the sea, swimming, diving, smelling the salt air and hunting for tiny fish to watch. My husband reintroduced me to boogie boarding, which I hadn’t done since I was a little girl. I’d forgotten how fun it is!
We also discovered that our dog hates the ocean, possibly because she is so stumpy.
3) My new job
Nice as my break was, paid employment is a privilege. Even more important than my income, however, is that my new job is interesting and challenging – I’ve never done anything like this before and I’m actually really enjoying it. Equally important is that my colleagues are truly lovely. I do miss my old work besties, but we still chat regularly on facebook and in the meantime, I’m building relationships with (mostly) women I already admire and respect.
4) My catio
One of my Christmas presents from my parents was some money to put towards an outdoor enclosure for my beautiful, noisy, pest of a cat. This 1.8m enclosure lets him feel the wind in his whiskers whilst staying safe from the various perils of cars, dogs, and other cats. It also stops him from terrorising the local wildlife. His favourite outdoor activity is eating the grass.
I think its super cool and I can’t wait to deck it out with more stuff for him.
My dog may be scared of storms, but I love them. I love watching the horizon glow with sheet lightning, or see bolts flash and crackle across the sky. Summer thunderstorms here are brief but generally very impressive.
6) New Pathways
Some news that I haven’t yet shared on this blog is that I was recently given a tentative additional diagnosis of adenomyosis. I’ll blog more later on what that is and how it affects the sufferer, but for now I am focussing on this: my ongoing post-surgery pain has a possible explanation, and therefore a possible treatment pathway. I’m not just a weirdo and my surgery wasn’t a waste of money.
7) My parents’ lovely Czech neighbour
He gave them a whole bunch of plums from his garden, which is an act of sweet neighbourliness that I just love, and I profited because my parents passed some on to me.
8) My new diaries
I’ve talked previously about my cool new diary set from Leaders in Heels. I’ve really loved how they’ve worked for me throughout January to keep me motivated and organised, whilst still giving me space to doodle and journal.
9) Fun hair
I bought a bunch of wigs recently. Some were purchased last year during my horrible experience with tramadol. Some were purchased in January when I realised I love wigs.
It’s too hot at the moment to take advantage of them, but this year I’ll be able to change my hair up easily and without having to commit to a different style or colour. Exciting stuff.
10) How privileged this list is
The fact that I can celebrate these small, trivial things like wigs and plums is because I was born into and continue to live a white, middle-class life in a developed nation. When I turn a tap, I take it for granted that I will immediately see clean water. When I open the pantry, it might not have as much chocolate as I’d like, but it will certainly have food (usually 16 million tins of diced tomatoes, for reasons I don’t fully understand). I am highly educated, I have a stable job, and I am not persecuted for my gender, religion or anything else. My government may change PM more often than I change jackets, but we are unlikely to see coups or major bouts of civil unrest. I am safe.
What are you grateful for this month? Do you keep a gratitude diary or something similar?