Over the last 18 months (Holy crap! Has it really been that long?) I've hosted far more than my fair share of pity parties. And while things are markedly better in that area these days, I'm still not quite "there". I'm no where near happy, but I am moving towards "okay" at a decent pace. I desperately WANT to be happy again, and I know that a big part of getting there, being truly happy, is being content with where I am in my life, being aware of, and grateful for, the things I have. I heard a saying the other day that expressed the place I'm hoping to reach "We may not be where we want to be, we may not be where we need to be, but we're damn glad not to be where we WERE". I'm still not in that place yet, not yet happy that I'm not where I was, I'm not yet in the place where I'm convinced that I'm better off now than I was then, that here is so much better than "there".
In my effort to reach that happiness place, I'm earnestly seeking to live a more grateful life. I'm reading books on grateful living, started a gratitude journal, I'm giving meditation (and medication) a go, I recite daily affirmations, have inspirational quotes taped on the bathroom mirror, the refrigerator, my computer screen, the rearview mirror of my car, I even carry a "worry stone" in my pocket and every time I touch it, I think of something I'm grateful for. The idea is that eventually, being grateful, living gratefully, will become second nature and when you're grateful, you become a happier person and good things start to happen to you, or maybe you're just in the right frame of mind to start MAKING good things happen, either way, good things are bound to follow.
And so, I've decided to join other bloggers who post "Things-I-Love Thursdays" posts, to remind myself that there ARE things in this life, in this time and place, that I love, that make me happy and that I should appreciate, things I wouldn't have if I were "there", instead of here. So here we go...
I love the weather right now, it's one of my favorite times of year. Summer is on it's way, but we're easing into it nice and slow, nights are the best, very pleasant and mild, perfect for long walks or just sitting on the back porch watching the bats flitting around. Japan has four very distinct seasons, which I love. In the part of Florida I was in before coming to Japan there was only one season: hot. Even after 3.5 years here in Japan, I'm still in love with the changing seasons.
I LOVE my backyard. It's my own private, little oasis, and I've been working on it slowly as the weather has gotten warmer. I have my hammock up and about half of the patio tiles down. I've decided to put two comfy chairs and a cafe table on the porch, then a regular table and chairs under the gazebo (which won't go up until I get the rest of the patio tiles down and it's not a real gazebo, just the canopy type on a metal frame). The kids and I love eating dinner outside during the summer, so I'm really looking forward to finishing up. We had to take a 3 bdrm house when we got here (after 2.5 mths of living in a hotel), but were eligible to move up to a 4 bdrm after 6 mths, but I love my backyard more than I'd like another bedroom, so we're staying put.
I've got kind of a love-hate thing going on with Japan right now, but it's mostly, almost always love, and the things I love here far outweigh the things I hate (maybe hate isn't even exactly the right word, maybe "tired of" or "frustrated with" is better)
The kids and I are going to Beijing in September, our first major vacation in over three years, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the planning part of taking any trip. I spend hours scouring the internet finding just the right hotel, making a list of the must see attractions, printing out maps, planning itineraries. I'm an obsessive list maker and big trips are a major list-making event!
I love that I have friends who automatically think of spending time with ME when they stop breastfeeding! LMAO! Planning a "girls' Tokyo weekend" with my beautiful Niigata neighbor in two short weeks, CAN'T WAIT!!!
I could probably come up with a few more things I'm really loving right now, but this is a good start! Gotta go tuck my pumpkin into bed, tomorrow starts a four-day weekend for us, Monday is Memorial Day in the U.S. and the military usually denotes the Friday before a Monday holiday as a "Family Day", but I'm going into work for a little while, and E will be going to daycare (because he loves it and always has a good time).
(this sign-off was shamelessly stolen from GW, but I changed her "QL" (quiet living) to "GL" (grateful living))