I’d like to greet the New Year with unbridled positivity, so here are some more things for which I am grateful.
I am grateful that I no longer smoke tobacco. I smoked for 15 years and quitting was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. Occasionally, I will feel nostalgic for my old, semi-rebellious days* and wish that I could have a cigarette with my cocktail. Or outside on someone’s deck as we sit in the sun and do nothing in particular. But for the most part, I don’t miss it at all, which is miraculous when you consider the hell I had to go through to quit. I’ve met other monkeys in my time, all of whom wanted to spend a little time on my back, but smoking is the one who pulled the sword from the stone and became King. Smoking was the biggest, fattest, friendliest monkey to ever parasitically attach himself to me and I had to use every ounce of my will for a very long time to get him to leave. And now, here I am, blissfully able to go about my day without thinking, “Why can’t I have a cigarette?” I can see a movie and not wonder when it will be over so I can go smoke. I can do thirty minutes of cardio, with my heart rate right up there in the 80% zone, and still breathe. My apartment smells like holiday candles and my husband’s fantastic pasta sauce instead of cold, burnt socks. It’s been 11 years. Ahhhhh. So grateful!
I am grateful that I am able to live in a place where I don’t hear gunfire or explosions. So many places in the world (including in the US) are war zones, filled with the sounds of violence and pain. I hear stories about cities and countries under siege — whether it be by army, gang, or lone-gunman — and wonder how the regular people manage to get to work or buy groceries when they are constantly in danger of being shot or enslaved. Life goes on even while bombs are falling and I can only imagine how stressful the business of survival becomes for those who are simply trying to feed their families. I think of soldiers fighting on both sides of whatever conflict, constantly on alert, never allowed to truly relax, and the quite average things I stress about suddenly seem a welcome sign of the basic security I enjoy. I open my window and hear birds and traffic and the compressor on the municipal building and I feel unbelievably grateful to be surrounded by so much normal. Everyone should have this. Not everyone does. Once again, I am soooooo lucky.
And I am grateful for my family. I have always had a supportive and loving family, both immediate and extended. If given the opportunity, I would have chosen them from the great family fishbowl when I was still bodiless and waiting to be born. And my husband’s family has proven just as wonderful. They shatter every negative in-law stereotype I’ve ever heard. I spent time with family for the holidays and was reminded at every turn what an incredible force for good they are in my life. We disagree about things and occasionally (rarely really) argue, but for the most part, we laugh and play and share what we feel is important. Over glasses of wine or plates of cookies, crowded into the kitchen or outside watching our breath in the cold, in groups or pairs, old and young, we drift together bound by the strange gravity of family love. I am safe and warm and strong, orbiting that star.
I wish only the best for you and yours this New Year.
* I say semi-rebellious because I have since learned that many of my friends did things in their wild days that I would never have dreamed of! They laugh at me and my dreams of rebellion! Hahaha!