We went on vacation at the end of January and when we came home I was nervous that I’d fall into the whole “everything in my house is lame because it’s not as fun as when we were on vacation” rut. You know what I mean? So I started doing this gratitude challenge on my Instagram stories. I set an alert in my phone to go off every night to remind myself to think about the ways I’m #blessed on purpose.
And then I got the flu and that job was hard because when you have the flu you don’t have the energy to be grateful BUT you also don’t have the energy to hate everything around you. You just lay on the couch and wait for time to do its job to either kill you or heal you while you stare at the ceiling and wonder about exactly nothing. So while it wasn’t a step back, it wasn’t exactly a step forward either. Bonus: when you’re finally well, gratitude is at an all time high!
Now, look, I’mactually not the kind of person who thinks that you have to be happy all of the time. I’m usually the kind of person who sees those gratitude posts in November all over Facebook–you know the ones, right? And rolls my damn eyes and scrolls on because some days I just can not be bothered by everything that’s going right in Susan’s life. Okay? Haha! But also… I bet it makes Susan feel really great to be intentional about that stuff and if she needs it, she needs it. That’s why I scroll on and don’t, you know, leave a comment that says, “No one cares, Susan!!” I feel bad for Susans out there. If your name is Susan and you’re reading this–it’s not directed at you. I just plucked a name out of the thin air. Sorry, Susan!
So, sometimes we do have to dig deep and talk about the big and small things that are keeping us alive right now. So here we are in the deepest, darkest depths of bleak winter, making lists of five things that are making us happy. Ready? You do it, too, if you want to.
- My New Balance [affiliate] sneakers. Ryan surprised me with them. I had seen them in the store window, went in and tried them on, found out the price and then told Ryan all about them, knowing that I wasn’t really going to buy them. I just wanted a little taste of them. I almost never ever buy shoes. Especially at full price. Because of that, I have some really embarrassing cross trainers in my closet. Rather than bring those with me on vacation, Ryan came home from work one night with these under his arm to surprise me. I love a gift that intersects at the point of romance and practicality. And these shoes go with everything. Very handy.
- Reading Who Thought This Was a Good Idea [affiliate] by Alyssa Mastromonaco. I’ve been hearing about this book for months, now. It always sounded interesting and when it came to looking for something to read on the plane, it sounded perfect for me. Not something that required too much deep attention but something that was light hearted. Apparently I wasn’t the only one with the idea that it was a good plane read because my neighbor across the aisle was reading the exact same book!
Mastromonaco tells really funny and exciting stories about working in Obama’s White House. I definitely recommend it.
- Cozy, hyggee scarf/ blanket. This one [affiliate] is nearly identical to the one that I bought on clearance at ModCloth at the beginning of the year. Under my coat, it has brought softness and comfort into these most harsh days of winter. I love adding it to my typical leggings+tunic uniform on warmer or at-home days. I’m a very tactile person so just wrapping up in it makes me instantly more happy.
- Searching for new recipes after being sick and only eating toast and applesauce. There’s still a lot of food that doesn’t appeal to me but I’m really interested in this recipe for Shrimp Tacos with Pineapple that I found in my most recent issue of Bon Appetit. Ryan and I have also been interested in trying our hands at making potstickers from scratch, sometime. I think we might use this recipe from Half-Baked Harvest and make an at-home date night of it? Eat some potstickers, watch a little Alpine Skiing? Ooh lala. Romance.
- Stepping out of my comfort zone has been huge for me this month (and, if we’re being honest, my horoscope told me it would be). I’ve found myself stepping into insecure spaces to say my peace or advocate for myself or someone else, recently. It’s a practice that I am grateful for even if it does require so much energy to do it. But here’s the thing–we think that stepping out of our comfort zone means stepping into a place of uncertainty or fear. But that’s not it at all. Or, rather, it doesn’t have to be that. We’re stepping into a place of vulnerability. A place where our faith is the only thing holding us steady. And that, my friends, is a great place to be.
What sorts of things have you been grateful for lately? Big or small, celebrate them. It’s important.