This blog series, #30DaysofGratitude, hopes to share bits of gratitude and create an awareness of how gratitude can change our mindset.
Every day this month, I, along with other writers, teachers and friends, will post about all things gratitude. Come along for the ride and let me know what you are most grateful for every day - I know we can inspire one another.
All of my life, I've forced myself to look at my life through a positive lens.
And most people I knew thought me crazy for doing so. Through unmerciful bullying, through jobs I've lost fairly and unfairly, through friends who've turned the other way...I've just plowed on, putting one foot in another, getting up every day and keeping to the business at hand.
Here's my present situation: full-time freelancer again after a change of direction in my department; loss of income while preteen daughter needs feeding, TLC, and 'space,' lots of 'space;' supportive, loving partner has chronic medical conditions threatened by the ongoing healthcare debate in Washington, DC., life has been a true roller coaster these last few years.
I should be pounding, pacing, and staying up all night, right? Well, I do, sometimes, puzzling my next job move and asking God to provide for us and to help us make the right decisions. And to work through the emotions of sudden loss.
"Alison, can't you ever just be real?" say many well-meaning friends. "Why do you remain so positive? Doesn't life ever just suck for you?"
Well, sure it does. You're not human if you don't have emotions. But negative begets negative. And life has given me enough 'experience' handling the lemons thrown at me.
Here's are the simple beliefs I utilize when I find myself panicking:
- BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT YOU DO HAVE. Assess what you do have. Control what you can. Thank God.
- Life will turn back to positive only if you believe it can.
- You, and only you, get to determine how much power others have over your emotions and your life.
- Realize that you're not alone in this experience; most people have experienced what you have.
- You've risen to the challenge before. You can do this again.
- God is an 'on-time' God. He gives us what we need in His time, not ours.
And if you're a writer, you have an added bonus, courtesy of Nora Ephron:
"All of Life is Copy."
And you know what? Over the past three months, I've developed gratitude for my current situation:
- I found how much I love my family-centered life. I am so grateful for this time that has been afforded to us. We took time over the summer to visit friends and family, something we couldn't have done if I'd been working full-time.
- I am grateful for the unemployment insurance administered through the State of Illinois, which allows me to keep my head above water.
- I am grateful for the small nonprofits which have allowed me to use my work skills for them.
- I am grateful for being able to use and flex creative muscles in different ways, and to be able to think 'outside the box.'
- I am grateful for my wonderful, extended family for including us in on special occasions and special deals.
- I am grateful for the time I have to assess, process, and contemplate the next chapter of my family's life.
What are your thoughts? How do you get through life's challenges? Write me!
Alison Moran writes the Token Female blog for ChicagoNow. Growing up in pre-Title IX suburban Chicago, Alison's life has given her many reasons to be grateful. She's a freelance writer, broadcaster, and development professional who brings to life Nora Ephron's famous phrase, "All of Life is Copy." And...making lemonade out of lemons! She's also a guardian Mom to a precocious pre-teen. You can read more of Alison's work at www.chicagonow.com/token-female.
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