Monday, June 2, 2014
The Byproduct of Looking on the Bright Side
Back in the fall, as part of my coachy coping mechanisms for living in a new house in the country sans-husband, I started writing in a daily gratitude journal. I've done this in the past (usually when I'm down about something) and the practice always seems to peter out as soon as I start feeling more joyful.
This year, I decided to keep the practice going even after I got settled in my new home—and even after Mr. W returned to it full-time.
In the last couple weeks, I've been aware of a sort of rewiring that seems to have set in. And I think it's from consciously, continually trying to practice gratitude.
I think I first realized it when our power went out for an entire day. It was a tricky workday that involved several hours at a local sandwich shop, mooching off the free wi-fi. We had to throw away groceries that went bad in the fridge, and we accidentally killed a big patch of grass when we ran a generator to charge our laptops. But we went to dinner that night and strolled through Solvang, enjoying the electricity humming through that part of town. When Mr. W suggested we duck into a local bar to play pool, I felt kind of giddy. Being there, drinking a beer with him, playing hooky from our darkened home made me have one of those moments when all seems right in the world. Even when we came back to our pitch-black house, we opened the curtains and let the full moon stream in and light up the living room. It was such a beautiful night.
Later that week, when a loose drain pipe behind our washing machine caused a flood on our nice hardwood hallway, I found my initial horror softened by massive gratefulness that Mr. W was there to help get the situation under control. It was so lucky we were home and could start the clean-up effort so quickly—it could have been so much worse had we not been there.
After we got all the sopping wet towels into the washing machine, I walked into the dining room and discovered a snake lizard hanging out under our table. But again, I was eternally grateful to have my partner in crime to handle the reptile wrangling.
This weekend, Mr. W demoed the shower and bathtub in our under-construction seahorse bathroom and I honestly don't think I've ever seen so much dust. People warned me about remodeling dust, but I had no idea it would be a mop-twice-and-it'll-do-nothing-to-the-layer-of-film-on-the-floors situation. When my dear friend SBW came to visit Saturday, I launched into a lengthy round of complaining.
And then Mr. W tore out the floor in the seahorse bathroom. And he had to work until he had blisters on his palms. And while I was putting on my makeup to go run errands, he was on his hands and knees scrubbing off the last traces of linoleum glue. All my frustration with the dust melted into gratitude for his hard work.
I'm not consciously trying to find the upsides. My initial, natural reaction to the bumps is annoyance. But in time, something else rolls in—like a tide smoothing rough sand. It sweeps out the irritation and replaces it with a sort of delight.
And if continuing to write in my gratitude journal will help sustain this new trend, I'll do it as long as I can keep feeling the waves of appreciation wash over me.