365 Days of Thanks

It’s that time of year. You know the one–the time where gym memberships spike, cigarette sales drop, and volunteer numbers surge. In short: it’s time for New Year’s resolutions.

I’m as game as the next person when it comes to picking up the resolution baton. It’s nice to take some time to really focus on ways to improve myself, my relationships, my community–whatever place in my life that I feel could be bettered. Like most Americans, weight loss features a spot in the top of my list (this year I’m hoping to finally hit my goal weight and enter into maintenance), as does exercise (this spring I’m training for my first half marathon!), but the one thing that I always try to explore is ways that I can improve my self. What can I do each year to try to be a better person?

So over the last few months of 2012, I wracked my brain and tried to figure out the place that I could use the most improvement. One day, as I was chopping vegetables, I started to think about how beautiful our meal was going to be. I can’t remember what I was cooking at the time, but for the sake of argument, let’s say it was my favorite light curry dish. Flavorful and delicious, it’s truly a treat, and what’s more is that it’s just as beautiful to look at as it is to eat. Slices of ruby bell peppers simmering alongside purple onion and the earthy orange of carrots, all of it speckled with minced cilantro and floating in a creamy coconut base… Sumptuous. And I started to think about what was in this pot: fresh vegetables, chunks of antibiotic-free chicken, long, thin grains of pearly jasmine rice. How fortunate I am, I thought to myself, that I can not only cook this meal for my family, but also that doing so is not a hardship.

Then came a list of things, both good and difficult. How last year I finished graduate school (thank God!)–a trial for sure but also a moment of triumph–, how I transitioned from a job that wasn’t always a good fit and started a wonderful new job that I love, how I adopted a lovable puppy who brings me so much joy but who has been battling a mysterious and expensive illness for the last nine months, how I got engaged to a wonderful man who comes into the kitchen or the bedroom or wherever I am and just stops, looks at me, smiles, says You’re so wonderful, and I love you. Sometimes these small moments of peace and joy and beauty are lost to me. With the rancid breath and gnashing jaws of Stress or Bad Days clouding my vision, it can be so hard to stop and remind myself of how truly fortunate I am.

What does this have to do with New Year’s resolutions you may ask? Plenty! This year, my resolution is to spend 365 days being thankful. Specifically, it’s my goal to find at least one thing to be thankful for each and every day. My ultimate goal is to post these things here, on Time to Blink, on a weekly if not a daily basis. Right now, in the midst of January, when I feel fresh and new, this plan sounds so easy. It sounds like a grand idea that’s going to Change My Life! Hopefully, those things will be true, but I know that, sooner or later, there’s going to be that bad day–the day when a student grows upset in my office or Andrew and have a tiff or one of the million other sundry little irritations finally gets to me. I know then that it will be hard to sit down, to say For this, I am thankful. But that’s what I’m hoping to change. That’s the part of myself that I’m hoping will grow and develop and learn to move forward, to leave anger or frustration in the past and to focus, at least for the most part, on the things that are good and true.

So here’s my first start:

Andrew and Rebecca

Moment of Thanks #1: Today I am thankful for my fiance, Andrew, who rescued me from loneliness and showed me that I was worth something to the world. Before we met, I was struggling with depression and anxiety and falling deeper and deeper into what seemed like a bottomless hole of anger and hurt. He’s helped me learn that my life has worth and value and that I can help do some good for the world.

How about you? What are you thankful for today?

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