Finding the silver lining…

As I mentioned last week, one of my resolutions is that I’m trying to be more grateful, more appreciated and more in-the-moment than I have been before.  I have been doing pretty well with my gratitude journal…making some time each night to focus on things I’m grateful for and things that made me happy that day.  It’s been easy, really, because things have been going really well.

That is…until this weekend.

I spent a large part of this weekend sick as a dog.  I’m not sure what was up…whether it was food poisoning or a stomach bug or what…but it was ugly.  While I still maintain that I’d take a stomach virus over a head cold any day of the week, this was no picnic and I was forced to cancel some really fun plans that involved me going to DC for the night on Saturday.  I was up most of the night on Saturday night, feeling just too icky to sleep.  When I was finally tired enough, J’s snoring and the dogs laying on me forced me out of bed and onto the couch, where I got a few measly hours.

On Sunday morning, the dogs woke me up because J will do morning poop duty, but not when it’s raining out.  So I dragged myself off the couch and took the dogs out…shooting daggers at J the whole time.  When I opened the door, it was raining so hard that Sofie kind of just looked at me like “You don’t really expect me to go out there, do you?”  Sadly, I did…so she jumped over all the puddles to do her business.  We were all soaked by the time we came in…exactly how I wanted to start the day.

I was still feeling a little off, so it was another day of mostly laying in bed and getting nothing done.  I napped while J watched football and I ate some toast in an effort to calm my stomach.  We checked our Powerball tickets and we didn’t even win a dollar, which was disappointing.  Overall, it was just a boring, gloomy day.

Right before bed, I sat down to write in my gratitude journal.  I didn’t expect much because it had been a lousy weekend and I was in a grumpy mood.  But as soon as I opened the book, things started coming to me.

I was grateful for the delicious turkey burger I had for dinner.  It wasn’t the fanciest dinner, but it stayed down and was quite tasty.

I was grateful that I got to watch the Golden Globes with only minimal bitching from J, who normally hates awards shows, but was oddly content to go along with my viewing choices last night.

I was grateful for my midday nap, because it pushed me over the top towards feeling better.

There were a few others things as well, but the thing I realized while I was writing was that even though my weekend sucked…and oh boy, did it ever…I was still able to find things that were good.  I was still able to find a bright side.  Even though I felt crappy and my plans were ruined and J was a total ass and wouldn’t go out in the rain…there were still things to be grateful for.  Being a cynical person by my nature, it was happy to discover this about myself.  And if I can do it, anyone can.

So when life hands you lemons, make lemonade.  Look for something to be happy about and grateful for.  Look for the bright side.  You will be so happy you did!

Being grateful…

J and I always seem to be concerned with what comes next.  Should we buy a new car?  Get a bigger house?  Find a better job?  And it’s not just about things.  We often discuss how the TV show or movie we are watching could have been better or ways to improve the recipe for the dinner we are eating.  J is a big believer  that we should always be looking for ways to make things better and after 15 years, this attitude seems to have rubbed off on me.

Don’t get me wrong…striving for better is not a bad thing.  But sometimes we focus so much on making things better that we don’t appreciate what we already have.  We end up missing what is happening right in front of us and instead of being happy about what we have accomplished and the life we have built, we end up being unhappy about the things we don’t have.

Lately, I’ve caught us both whining like little kids about things that were so trivial and inconsequential…we sounded like spoiled, jerky brats.  I don’t want to be a spoiled, jerky brat so it ends now.

It’s a new year and we are going to start fresh.  Instead of focusing on what we don’t have, we are going to focus on what we do have and what we are grateful for.  I’m certainly not going to get J to keep a gratitude journal, but I am going to keep one and when I catch either of us complaining about our jobs or trying to figure out a way to make the chicken taste better while we are still eating it, I’m going to make us both stop and re-evaluate what we are complaining about.  Yes, work sucks sometimes which is why they call it work…but we are lucky to have the jobs we have when we could be unemployed.  And no, I’m not the greatest cook, but I’ve come a long way since the days of dry pasta with jar sauce, so let’s enjoy the chicken now and we can discuss ways to make it better next time I cook it.

It’s not going to be easy to break us of this habit we’ve had for so long, but I think if we focus on being grateful, we will end being so much happier.

So to start the year off right, right now I am grateful to be sitting here, writing again.  I’m grateful for the wonderful man and two awesome dogs who are still asleep in the next room.  I’m grateful that Netflix paused the TV show that was playing in the bedroom because the silence is giving me a minute to think.  I’m grateful for the new year and the chance it give me to change things I don’t like.  And most of all, I’m grateful for the nap I’m about to take…apparently, staying up half the night on New Year’s Eve is much harder at 40 than it was at 30.  It’s all about the little things today.

Happy New Year to everyone reading this.  May it be your best year yet and may you all be very grateful for it.