So, this is going to sound really lame. But here goes.
I’ve always been a bit of a cynic. A skeptic. A realist. A pessimist. Hard, if you like. The kind of person who sees a glass as half-empty (and I still do, because half-full sounds ridiculous and the two f-sounds in a row are icky to articulate).
These days, I like to think of myself as a dreamer/realist. If pushed, I’d describe it as hoping for the best, but planning – always – for the worst.
Last year presented me with a lot of challenges. It was by far the hardest single year of my life. I lived in a bad neighbourhood, in a damp, mouldy house, was the victim of crime, lived with lame flatmates including a filthy, lazy pig who still owes me nearly $1000, was completing my final year as a journalism major with a full courseload and juggling my part-time job with other side hustles, and dealing with an unemployed partner. A frigging AWESOME combination. Thanks, life.
I was frequently in tears. I was perpetually sleep deprived, stressed out to the point of snapping and had several mini breakdowns and nearly ended my relationship. In short, I was a mess, really, and I felt very, very sorry for myself.
The dark passed, eventually. Today we live alone in a dry and warm, if small, apartment. I have my piece of paper and we’re both gainfully employed. I am blessed. And I know it.
The best decision I made this year was to be grateful. To count my blessings. To look on the bright side a little more often, to open my eyes to the silver lining. To stop leaving that responsibility to T all the time. To be a more generally positive, cheerful person, one who’s pleasant to be around more often than not.
You know what sparked this? (This is where the embarrassing bit comes in.) I read The Secret at the start of the year. Whether or not you believe in it – and I don’t really – the most valuable lesson I learned was to simply cultivate gratitude. Starting off the day in the right frame of mind can really make a difference. I appreciate my health, my job, my partner and everything else in my life.
Shit happens. It’s true.
But a little perspective here: I may be hungry sometimes, but I know where my next meal is coming from. I may be cold, a lot, but I have a heater, blankets, warm clothes and a boyfriend with excellent circulation.
I rarely feel sorry for myself these days. I often whine that I need more hours in the day, but that’s because I’m blessed with opportunities to make more money (hello travel fund!), with hobbies and interests, with friends.
I am content for the most part on a day-to-day basis.
I knew it was the best decision ever when I came home one day and T asked: “What’s wrong? You’re not your cheerful self today.”
Nobody had ever said that to me before.