It dawns on me that the reason I have felt so grateful for how things are coming together at present is because I never truly believed that good things would happen to me. I believed they were possible for other people, yes, but I never imagined them for myself. I thought I had a right to good things, but because I also thought they weren't in the cards for me personally I fought to control my experiences to ensure that I got what I deserved out of them. (Therein lay the problem.) The reason I'm humbled by my recent good fortune, then, is directly related to the fact that it all happened when I stopped trying to make it happen because I felt entitled to it.
The combination of feeling grateful for and humbled by this measure of success and happiness is something I've sought for sometime, but I wasn't quite sure how to attain it. I undertook this project for a variety of reasons, but my primary goal was to learn to live day-to-day, and this was one way to keep myself grounded. (That continues to be my motivation.) Only in hindsight, though, have I come to understand that the gratitude and humility I've developed toward the big things -- that is, recognizing their inherent worth and my good fortune to have them -- was set in place by my desire to be take note of and be grateful for life's little blessings. When I set my mind to being grateful for the air I breathe and to viewing every tiny thing that goes right not as an entitlement but as a gift, I was finally able to see the beauty in my bigger blessings and to become a person who others want to be around and give to lavishly.
In that spirit, I want to use the next six months to create a life-long habit of being a person who is grateful for the little things that happen and humbled by the big gifts that I have been given. I want to do little things that will make a big difference in the lives of others and help them find their own paths toward healing, hope and purpose. I suspect this may be my own purpose: to serve as a healing balm and comforting shoulder for others. I wholeheartedly accept it.
But to accept this mission is to accept that I am worthy of the resources that have been bestowed upon me and to really savor and appreciate them rather than moving on to something else as soon as the momentary fascination and gratitude have ended. I want to take care of what little I have and find myself eternally grateful for it rather than to always want more. I want to sincerely believe and live by the idea that less is more and more is actually less.
I hope that when I am gone people say that I gave lavishly, not sparingly; that I loved thoughtfully, not haphazardly; and that I accepted all that life has to give openly, not begrudgingly. Because to whom much is given much is required, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I just need to remember that seeking the praise of others is not my motivation; rather, it is providing support and safe haven to those I love, as well as to the most vulnerable among us who most need it.
#291: Sweet and quiet dinner with Mr. Wonderful before my departure. ("You're so cute with your gifts," he said.)
#292: Incredibly thoughtful and generous gift from Mr. Wonderful.
#293: Safe and uneventful flight home for Christmas. (That hasn't always happened.)
#294: An inexpensive but beautiful haircut that looks good and makes me feel good about myself.
#295: Dinner with my family numerous days in a row, which doesn't often happen.
#296: Lunch with family friends.
#297: Riding go-carts and playing putt-putt (at a reduced price!) with the youngest member of our clan.
#298: Baking cookies for Santa with the youngest member of our clan.
#299: Reading The Cajun Night Before Christmas with the youngest member of our clan and tucking him into bed.
#300: Having the first thing I hear on Christmas be: "I heard Santa's reindeer making noises, and then he jumped in the sleigh!"
#301: Generous and thoughtful gifts from all of my family members.
#302: My parents crying when they opened each other's secret and overly generous gifts for each other, which made all of us cry.
#303: Christmas breakfast.
#304: Being a grown woman whose mother still takes care of her when she's too sick to get out of bed the rest of Christmas.
#305: The youngest member of our clan repeatedly telling me, "This is my best Christmas ever!"
#306: Seeing the youngest member of our clan with his first pet. ("I love him. Do you love him?" he said.)
#307: Spending the day shopping...
#308: With my siblings, who I miss fiercely on a regular basis.
#309: Board games with my family.
#310: Getting to spend this tired week by myself in my office.
#311: Lunch with a friend from grad school, who I never really get a chance to interact with.
#312: Getting to go to bed early every single night this week.
#313: Catching up with one of my best friends for an extended period last night. So welcome.
#314: A chance to spend time grabbing dinner at a great restaurant and seeing a movie with a friend this evening.
#315: Being offered a chance to go build classrooms and teach English in a developing country in the Spring.
#316: Being offered half of the funds needed already.
#317: Having a 3-day weekend!
Happy New Year to all,