It has been a year and a half filled with challenges. Some welcome and some…well…decidely not so much:
Getting married, moving out of state, sending one child off to college, listening and supporting the other working through her own challenges, cheering on my husband of six months through getting laid-off and while he continues to look for work after over a year off, working 10-12 hours seven days a week, working to head-off depression (been there, done that). It has not been pretty, watching my optimism and happiness slide further out of reach. I’ve said and done some things in utter frustration for which I’d love to hit the rewind button.
I am grateful when I remember that I am responsible for my own happiness. This is a biggie. It short circuits a lot of the frustration and anger, especially when I get focused on what I perceive others are or are not doing.
I am extraordinarily grateful when I become aware of thinking that takes me down a path of self-pity, self-righteousness and martyrdom…oh I can skip merrily down those paths with my best inner I-want-my-mommy-self. I used to stuff that thinking in a shame-on-me way and redouble my efforts to make everyone happy. A shift came when I started to embrace that thinking as simply a tap on my head and heart that I’m not meeting my needs – not taking care of my own soul – and taking time to care for myself. I’ve known this for years, lost sight of it through this time, then got it back which brings some clarity:
I am grateful for getting seeing that I’ve been able to keep moving through all this and take steps to take care of myself. I’ve surprised myself with how strong I can be. Rather than giving way to depression, I’ve made a conscious choice to eat better and get more exercise and better rest which includes giving myself permission to nap. I’ve lost 25 pounds by choice rather than through illness and despair.
While no couple should spend 8760 hours a year together, a part of me is grateful that we have had this time. It’s more than some get to spend together in years of marriage. Our two person jury is still out on whether this is a good or bad thing. I think it’s both and we get a better understanding of each other, the good, the bad and the stinky, ugly stuff. After many weeks of bickering, arguing and disgust, we were able to put our arms around each other yesterday and acknowledge that sometimes we just don’t like each other’s behavior, but we know we love each other. I smiled remembering the old saying that “but” erases the first part of any statement it includes. Here’s the interesting part: We decided to rearrange our living room to open up the space so we weren’t crowding in on each other. When we were all done, we sat down and cuddled on the sofa. We shifted from crowding to cuddling by moving a few pieces of furniture.
When I sat down to write this I had no idea what I was grateful for. Not one clue. I wasn’t feeling particularly grateful about anything.
To realize that I am in need of breaking myself open again — wide open — is something for which I am incredibly grateful.
Thank you, Belle, for the timely reminder and the new space in which to crack myself open and up.