Funnily enough, exactly one day after I published this post, the clouds and rains came and haven’t stopped yet. Looks like the weather gods were listening! I’m so thankful for the change in weather and everything has been remarkably more enjoyable. In fact, the days of sweating to death seem like a lifetime ago.
That’s kinda the way it is, isn’t it? We are constantly seeing so many new places and experiencing so many new things, that the past quickly becomes only a faint memory as new ones fill our brains. The past days all blur into one another in such a way that I can barely remember what I did days ago, or even what country I was in a week or two ago. Everyday brings about new streets, new food, new people…. and yet also sameness: more old architecture, another city on the river, yet another cathedral, one more train ride….
Maybe after 1.5 months of straight travel in Europe, it has finally lost some of its original sparkle or shiny luster. But though I may not enter each destination with the same wide-eyed childlike astonishment, I am never more filled with gratitude as I am now. And at the most unexpected times, little moments remind me to fully appreciate my life and everything in it.
A week or so ago, D and I were having dinner and I was eavesdropping on the conversation from the table next door (ok, they were talking really loud…. and in English, which is more rare than not these days). One guy was saying how he sets multiple alarms to wake up in the morning and even uses an app to make sure that the alarms ring ahead of time.
His dinner mates thought it was weird/funny. But I remember those days. That used to be me, when I needed multiple alarms to drag myself out of bed. And I, too, purposely set my alarms ahead so that I could properly snooze and still get up “on time” for work. And suddenly, I realized: I don’t do that anymore. There were many a days in Buenos Aries when I pulled the blackout shades and slept until practically noon. And even now with a faster-paced schedule, we wake up whenever we feel like it. The only reason for an alarm now is for those early check-out days.
Weekday mornings used to be the most dreaded times of my day (rivaled only by Sunday nights), and now they’re my favorite times because I know a new adventure awaits every time I step out the front door. (Even if the new adventure is seeing a cathedral that looks exactly like the 10 I saw before it. :P)
I was all of a sudden full of gratitude. Gratitude for living life on my own terms now. Gratitude for being able to experience places/eat foods/see sights that were once only a pipe dream. Gratitude for the man who dreamed of it for the both of us.
But sadly, I don’t express that nearly enough. And I’m ashamed to admit that we still find too many things to complain about (bitchy waitresses, tired feet, rowdy crowds). And when our days are busy with sightseeing, when it’s miserably hot, when we’re stressed over future plans and visas, or when we fight, we may not stop and truly appreciate how wonderful life is.
So ever since then, I’m actively practicing gratitude daily so that none of the beautiful moments slip by, so that days will no longer pass in a blur, so that I never take my life for granted.
These days, I am grateful for: sleeping without alarm clocks, dessert before dinner, getting pho in Prague, grey skies and rain, dealing in non-euro currencies, and the man who loves and supports me. And as always, I’m grateful for those of you who choose to spend a little bit of your day to read my words.
And so today, instead of keeping it to myself, I’m spreading a little bit of gratitude.
What are you grateful for today? Share it!