How to Live a Grateful Life
Living the hashtag life
It always seems easier to me to think of the big moments in life and feel so #thankful #lucky #blessed (insert your favorite hash tag or eye roll here) in the middle of them. You know what I mean? Your kid graduates from high school, gets married, you get a job promotion, you take a vacation this year - you feel thankful on all of those occasions, those big moments in life. How much harder is it to pause and be thankful for the little moments, the everyday tasks that make up our daily lives? The parent who is doing laundry every other day, wiping up crumbs every time you turn around, the parent racing home from work to make their kids sport event or concert or to fit in grocery shopping. The empty nester who doesn’t have those things to fill their evenings anymore, the retiree who’s friends have moved away? No matter what stage of life we are at, it can be hard to not whip through our days, jumping from weekend to weekend, and instead take a minute to be thankful for the mundane, ordinary, every day moments.
Instead of going through the motions...
When I am folding laundry (and I absolutely hate folding laundry. I put it off as long as possible and hope it bugs my husband first so he will beat me to it. Yes, this usually works - it might take weeks, but I fold and put away a lot less laundry), so on the occasions I actually fold laundry instead of grumbling, I think of how thankful I am that we can afford nice clothes. When I’m wiping crumbs and putting away coffee cups that always seem to be left on the counters, I think that my kids won’t always live here, so I’m thankful for the time I have them. When I used to carpool from activity to activity I soaked up that time instead of it stressing me out since I knew that stage of life would be short-lived. We are going to be empty nesters and I want to be thankful for the extra time I will have and figure out what to do with it rather than complain that my life is empty. When friends move or life circumstances change, I want to embrace and be thankful for where I am at and the opportunities that lie ahead instead of lament what was.
Things I'm thankful for right now
This year as I look back, I am thankful for extra time with my son who graduated but hasn’t flown the nest yet. I’m thankful for the articles and topics he texts me to discuss and debate. It’s a busy season for my daughter with fall sports, but I’m thankful that our family sits down for dinner together most nights of the week. In the midst of teenage hormones and occasional girl drama, I’m thankful for impromptu late night talks no matter how tired and dragging I am the next day. I’m thankful for acquaintances that stepped into our lives and became the friends and support we desperately needed when we were at our lowest and our closest friends had ghosted on us. I’m thankful for grocery shopping with my husband and laughing through it even though he can drive me crazy because we don’t shop the same or read each others minds yet.
Only living for the weekend
So many little moments make up a day, comprise a week, and turn into seasons and years. Instead of living for the weekend, the next stage, the next vacation, wishing away the hard times, I want to intentionally embrace them all. Crumbs and dirty socks and lonely moments - all of them - and be grateful for them. How about you? What little things are you thankful for?