|Once my arms heal, I'll be back on the trail!|
I love early January when we start a new year brimming with possibilities. I'm starting 2016 with an attitude of gratitude, despite the hardships I've faced in the past five years:
- I got divorced at age 50
- I was laid off at work during the Recession when jobs were scarce and was unemployed for some months
- I had to sell my house in the worst real estate market in decades
- I quickly downsized from 2,400 to 600 square feet--and gave away most of my possessions
- I moved five times in two years because rentals are so expensive
- I lived for three months in a backyard shed with no heat, water or toilet (because I needed to save money for car repairs)
- I broke both wrists in an ATV accident, needed two surgeries, missed three months of work and incurred lots of medical bills
Some people might shake their heads and ask me: "Are you crazy? How can you be grateful after so many hard things?
My answer is: "How can I be anything but grateful? Isn't gratitude a better response than being depressed, angry, and wallowing in despair and misery?"
The biggest lesson I've learned through hardship is that the only thing I can control is my attitude. I can either brush myself off and be grateful, or I can become a sour, unhappy person. I choose gratitude and joy.
I have myriad reasons to be grateful. Among them:
- I reinvented myself at age 50. I joined a dragon boat team and found the joyful, adventurous woman inside of me.
- At age 52 I started a new career as a newspaper reporter. I enjoy my work, and I've become a much better writer.
- I lost 40 pounds and have kept it off for four years. Once I get my last cast removed, I'll lose another 30 pounds.
- For more than two years, I've rented the 600 square-foot mother-in-law suite in the home of dear friends. At last, I am home.
- After giving away so many possessions, I'm content with my lifestyle of simplicity and finding joy in simple pleasures.
- After living without heat, water, a kitchen--and especially a bathroom--I am grateful that on this snowy day, I don't have to walk outside 37 steps to the facilities.
- After my ATV accident, I am grateful for life itself. I am alive and planning great adventures in the coming year.
When hard things come your way--and they come to us all eventually--will you wallow in despair or will you adopt an attitude of gratitude? It's your choice.