I was venting. About my family. My friend looked at me semi-incredulous, “At least you can see your family if you want to. They’re 3 hours away and you can go there easily.” She actually can’t. Her family is in Central America and there’s no way for her to return home safely or legally. I realized I had been so completely unaware of my privilege and completely not-grateful for aspects of my existence that I was taking totally for granted.
This inspired my “Year of Gratitude.” If you followed my writing last year, you know my mantra was Year of Conscious Living. I started composting, completed a yoga teacher training, became a mostly vegan, and only bought sustainable clothes and products. Year of Gratitude feels like a natural and needed next step. Now, that I am considering my impact on others and the world, I want to start pausing and appreciating what I have.
I am privileged. Many of us are.
I go home to a building that has walls and a secure door. I can walk safely down the street. I can afford to buy food that meets more than just my basic survival needs. I have a job I love. I can choose to hang out with friends or have a quiet night at home. All of these are things to be grateful for daily.
But it’s more than recognizing my privilege. I also want to take time this year to engage in more deep, real, meaningful conversations over coffee or tea. I want to sit at my dining room table with a friend and really listen to them. I want to read more for pleasure (I’ve already read two books!). I have some decisions to make about my career moving forward and I want to find the time to think and meditate on those decisions, so that when I make them, I’ll know it’s the right one. I also want to run more, yoga more, use my body more. I’ve only got one and I want it to be fit and healthy.
Lastly, I want to be more for others.
This doesn’t mean over-giving of myself, my time or my money. It does mean having honest conversations, making time when friends and family need to talk, phoning someone I haven’t spoken to in a long time, mending fences. It also means spending time cooking with my husband or for our friends. It means that if I have an extra $10.00 that every once in awhile I’ll make a donation to a local cause or buy something for someone in need. Being grateful has to mean recognizing our privilege and sharing our bounty with others (whatever that means to you).
I wish you a lovely 2018. What are you practicing this year?