I had my kids create Thankful Journals when they were young. It was at a time I felt they needed to reflect on gratitude and happiness, and not on what they didn’t have or didn’t get to do. It was fun to read what they wrote and could be as simple as being thankful for a certain friend, or thankful for having a Popsicle that day. They wrote each entry as one word and yet the power of thinking about what they were thankful for, and writing it down, was strong.
I’ve always believed pausing to reflect on what we are thankful for can change our day, and build on those days one at a time to change our lives. Even on my hardest days, I’ve always been able to find something to be thankful for. At times, I’ve been thankful simply for someone who listened to why my day was hard. I realize not everyone has that – a spouse, a parent, a child, or a great friend who will let you tell ‘your story’ and take your side to help you get through it.
So today, I start my year of thanks. Not only reflecting, but also writing, what I am thankful for.
I have gone through many life events this past month and could write about something ‘big’. But I choose instead to write about a simple day of happiness.
On Friday, I was asked to go for breakfast on Saturday and a short motorcycle ride. I almost said no. There were so many things to do – chores to catch up on at home, gardening that needed to be done in order to have beautiful flowers this summer, prep for a speech I will give this week, and planning for Emma to return home from 5 months in Europe.
But, I said yes.
Breakfast and a short ride turned into breakfast, lunch, and a long ride. Stunning views, great friends, winding roads beside lakes, a few photos, and peace. For almost 12 hours I didn’t spend time thinking of all the things I should have been doing, or how many hours had passed on this short ride we had planned. I let myself experience all the sensations of the warm sun and the cool breeze, the conversations over meals, the music on the radio, and the gentle lean as we rounded each corner.
I was happy in an easy way I hadn’t felt lately. I’ve had fantastic highs over the past few weeks but they were earned. This was just given as a gift. A gift of happiness for saying yes when my instinct was to say no.
I am thankful for this day and carry it with me.