I’ll let you in on a secret…the last few weeks have been rough.
I put on a bright face, even when it’s not an accurate representation of what I feel inside. My smile isn’t an altogether lie because things are great—in the big. But that doesn’t make it any easier to clean pee off the couch or puke off the floor, or to manage general contractors who would rather make excuses than keep commitments. A smirk doesn’t slow down my heart rate while hosting overnight company in the middle of a book deadline, or volunteering for non-profit fundraising at the local farmer’s market because running two businesses and writing isn’t quite enough. A cheery disposition certainly doesn’t ease the annoyance of listing to dental hygienists moan about my political party (without any provocation whatsoever) while I literally can’t say anything back.
Life is a circus, and these are my money’s.
Thankfully, I have a secret weapon against the bullshit and backache. One word: Tequila.
For real this time: Gratitude.
I can see you rolling your eyes. “This chick’s whack,” you say (nobody says that), but I mean it. It’s amazing how a little gratitude will change your attitude. With some self-directed focus—because you don’t want to be all, “Um, I guess I’m thankful for…coffee?”—you can genuinely change your day with some good ol’ thankfulness, too.
Here are my simple tips to turn your inner Scream Queen into a Smiley Go Lightly:
- 1. Celebrate the little things. If I get the kids to bed, and their mattresses still contain bedding, I convince myself the sheets are probably clean and skip out of the room. If my favorite song comes on the radio, I sing my dorky heart out and flash peace signs to the confused onlookers. When my son smiles at me with that big, gummy grin full of drool? I mean, come on. Melting. And don’t even get me started on how the butterflies still flutter when my husband falls asleep on the couch next to me. He could just go to bed, where it’s comfortable. But he hangs with me until his little eyes can’t take it anymore because we’re best friends, and I love everything about that.
- Recognize the big things. I can breathe without assistance. My body works great, even though I rough it up with overuse. I have food in my kitchen, bonus points that it’s health stuff (mostly vegetables, because they’re the last thing to get eaten, and I can’t stand the thought of hitting the store with three kids for the fourth consecutive time this week, so we’re eating vegetables for dinner). I have a great vehicle (regardless of that one blinker that’s out—shhhhh) and money to fuel up whenever I want. These are big massive wins, and I’m doing a terrible disservice to my life if I steamroll over them, ignoring each as a blessing.
- Rejoice in your talents and skills. So what if confrontation isn’t my thing. Creative thinking is, and I can figure out how to get any job done with a little ingenuity. I can’t do it all, but I can take some time to sit down while the kids nap and write out a blog because I love doing it. Giving attention to my talents gives me the strength I need to do all that garbage I don’t want to do…like, create a full dinner out of only vegetables.
- 4. Engage with the people you love. If I woke tomorrow and my family was gone, my entire self would explode. Every last bit of my mind, body, and soul would combust into shards of hollow nothingness and flaming pain. So why go a single day without hugs and laughing and butterfly kisses? Why grumble my way through life if I don’t show love and gratitude to the people who make it all worthwhile? When I hug my kids, they better smell like slobber from all the affection I show.
- 5. Humbly give thanks for the times you screw the pooch. I’m not perfect. Oh God, I am not perfect. I throw grown up fits (of which I’m deeply ashamed). I yell at my girls when they could use a firm educational moment instead (but, seriously, “put on your shoes already” is probably my catch phrase). Sometimes I throw in the towel and walk away from projects for a few days (or weeks) until I absolutely cannot put the work off any longer. But every single time I open my eyes, I try again. And every single time I go to bed wishing I’d done more, been more, loved more…I still give thanks for what I accomplished and try again tomorrow.
- 6. Give thanks for the growth. I don’t know your life, but I’d wager that you’re not the same person you were last year. It’s safe to assume you’ve developed at least a little, and for that alone, you should be thankful. We are fluid beings living a fluid life trying not to get too much of our fluids on other people. The fact that you have this remarkable ability to adapt and grow should send you through the roof with gratitude!
Be appreciative of your life and it will give you more than you ever asked for.
I’m grateful for people who read this. You give me a reason to keep these fingers flyin’ on my busted old keyboard. What are you thankful for?
Leave me a comment.