The New Yorker magazine has just published an article entitled ‘Cancel New Years Eve Forever’. Wow! Pretty stark I thought. However, in fairness, it probably reflects how a lot of us are feeling right now given we are almost two years into a global pandemic which has quite literally brought the world to its knees.
It’s been really, really hard.
About a month back a friend and I were doing a thing all about having a nicer, kinder, calmer kind of Christmas and she spoke about the idea of gratitude. Reader, let me tell you, this wasn’t the first time I had flirted with the idea of actively taking stock of all I have to be thankful for. We’ve all heard it – write down what you’re grateful for. I mean, hand’s up who hasn’t received one of those cheesy gratitude journals from a dear friend stuck for something to gift you on your birthday? This idea of conscious gratitude being good for you has been knocking around a while. And yet – primarily because I am lazy and writing a gratitude list every day is something I’d actually be grateful not to have to do, thank you very much – the penny only dropped with me when she said this: “The stuff you don’t have doesn’t feel as important when you can see what you’re grateful for”.
So there you have it. When you’re as thick / cynical as I am you don’t just learn something new every day, you may also take several days to learn just one thing. But it will be worth it.
So in light of the dreadful year that’s been where we all feel we’ve missed out on so much, I am so pleased to say I am, at the very least, grateful for:
- My Family. My Friends.
- Health and moments of happiness and joy.
- Motherhood. I totally, absolutely love it – also, it may kill me.
- Being an auntie.
- Pfizer for vaccinating and boosting me – and also being the work place where my parents met and for putting me and my siblings through college… Definitely all-round grateful for Pfizer.
- Good conversations – the ones that go straight to the guts of the thing. A dear friend recently told me she doesn’t bother with small talk anymore – that there’s just not enough time. Enough said.
- School gate conversations – from small talk to tears to revelations to waves under umbrellas – these little daily encounters keep me going.
- Port. And on this note, I am very relieved to see that online influencers are on the whiskey train so us gin lovers can go back to having minimal ice and a plain tonic with our gin in a slim jim glass. The way it’s meant to be. I am still embarrassed at having once had to scream across a crowded bar that ‘I like it the old fashioned way’. Morto.
- Alan working full-time from home. This has been life-changing. We endeavoured to ensure that while our children were small one of us would always be at home with them – now both of us are. Alan is there when they go to school, when they get home. He makes lunches, sometimes drops them – he knows the parents at the school gate now, he isn’t so tired or driving as much. We can take turns at having evenings off bedtime or take a walk at lunchtime – we have so much more balance. Every day all five of us sit down for dinner together. How could we now accept anything less than that for our family? So grateful.
- An interest in gardening – it is such a good, engrossing hobby!
- Hobbies in general – especially Wednesday morning tennis with an improving serve and a reawakened competitive streak. HUP!
- Middle age and the fact that it is both liberating me from and articulating my ‘ick’ reaction to things like skincare, selfcare, the idea of manifesting stuff, capitalism, the patriarchy… I get very annoyed about stuff and that’s great fun.
- The fact that I care enough to get annoyed at above mentioned stuff. I’m grateful to be interested.
- A house-hunting friend who was very cross that her family of four couldn’t find a home to rent with less than three toilets. That, my friends, is true wisdom which you either get or you don’t.
- A good marriage. It is the greatest gift. Grateful, grateful.
- A warm home with it’s own front door.
- Ronan Collins.
- Being in nature and living rurally.
- Christmas cake.
- Writing – and those who read my writing… grateful, grateful, grateful.
And maybe I’m grateful for New Year’s Eve too. Let’s not allow it to be cancelled. There’s something about tonight that will always get you thinking. You may not reflect too deeply upon the year that’s been (I mean, few may even want to) or be asleep by the time it strikes midnight (guilty) but you will at the very least have a fleeting sense of one year leaving and another entering. And if you are lucky to be here, on this planet, with the gift of thought or reflection, maybe just try to be grateful. Because deep down, we all have something to be grateful for – however small, whatever our circumstances. Write it down. Read it over. Cherish it.
Here’s to You and 2022 X
Big gratitude to Aoife @bewelldowellx for her gentle nudge to start documenting all that gratefulness X