Monday, October 4, 2010

Happy Things

I don't think of myself as an unhappy person, but I tend to be an over-thinker, always aware of what could  be better or what could go wrong.    My sister says that it is my method to agonize over a decision, make a choice, and then spend years regretting it.    Sometimes I need to re-balance my thoughts by focusing, instead, on the things in my life that are good.    The residual resentment and lack of confidence from my job loss, living on a very limited income, too much isolation, the bits and pieces of my health and body that are going awry, and the frosty mornings we've been having have served to tip the scales toward less happy thoughts.   I could make a distressingly long list of things that make me sad or frightened or angry.    But here instead is my off-the-cuff-top-of-my-head little list of happy things.

I love the open smiles of my grandchildren, the way they light up a room, the way they shout "Grandma!" when they see me.    I love their precocious conversations and their way of looking at the world, both simple and profound.   I love seeing them together, learning to compromise, to choose respect over irritation, to trust each other, sometimes so easily and sometimes not but always learning relationship skills that many adults still lack.   I love their understanding of things; my granddaughter was playing today and told me that she is an alien, sometimes changing forms and sometimes wearing armor but not to worry, she is a "love alien" and I don't have to be afraid.   I wish I had known how to reassure people of that as I went through stages and changes in my own life.

I love my first cup of coffee in the morning, sitting in the dark.    I like the pattern of chopping and creating meals, and I enjoy my own cooking more than that in any restaurant.   I love the kind of cooking and baking that I can do in cooler weather, fresh bread, red beans and rice, skillet cornbread.    And I nearly swoon over my baked goods.   It's embarrassing how much I like my own food.

I love the rare quiet moments when I can have a conversation with my son or daughter in law; and whether we get the chance to talk, or not, in the childish frenzy that often fills our time together, I just like and value everything about them.   I value their advice and ideas above all others.  I love the times I spend with my sister or brother.  I am so grateful for the times that my daughter is safe and not in pain, and for her moments of hope and optimism.  I am proud of her recurring courage against terrible odds.   I love the way that, despite it all, she can make me laugh.

I love to feel the sun, or see the clouds, or the moon, or the stars, or, barring that, my little solar lights on the back porch.   I like the crunchy leaves.   I am savoring the last tomatoes of my summer garden.   I like watching the birds give themselves up to my bird bath; they go in timidly at first, but then totally give over to the experience, rolling and reveling in the water.

I love learning new things, useless things, fun things.   I like having bits and pieces of things I love throughout my house, bowls of shells and childish artwork.   I am grateful that I have enough money to pay my basic living expenses.   I am happy that my car is still reliable; like me, it might not look like it did years ago, but it is going strong at 240,000 miles.

I like being dependable, I like that there are still people who rely on me for help.    I like that I can rely on myself, too, that I am the one who will not let me down.   I like being able to wear jeans and t-shirts every day.   I like not having to take my shower early in the morning while it's still dark and the house is still cold.   I like being able to change my plans on a dime.    I love the red berries on the tree outside my front window, and sitting by my fireplace which is beautiful even if not functional.   I like tea in the afternoon and the occasional gin and tonic or glass of wine at night.

I love being by water, and, as those times become less frequent, I cherish the memories, and will cherish future moments, even more.  I love walking at the edge of the surf, toes (and more) getting wet, shells rolling up to me like gifts from the universe.  I do not dig for shells, I enjoy the feeling that each one was freely offered and gratefully accepted.  I love the sound of the waves, I love the surprise glimpses of animals and birds I never expected to see.   But here in Michigan, I love our streams and lakes and rivers, with different sounds and different surprises.   It's all good.


Anonymous said...

Your post invited me to join in appreciating all these things. Beautifully written.

Solar garden lights said...

Your post is really very interesting i like it a lot. Thanks for sharing your experiance with us.....

Don said...

Thanks Gail. We all need to take the same inventory more often. We know what you say to be true, we just forget. Thanks for the reminder.