On Being Thankful
When I was in Americorps, I would bike to work every day about 5 miles each way. I loved the freedom of biking. I loved the way I could sort out my day before and after work in my head, and truly breathe in the air, the scent of fall leaves, spring flowers or freshly mowed grass. I could see the neighborhoods and people coming home or leaving for their work day. As much as I loved biking, there were days in the Portland winter where it was dark, cold, rainy, and windy. The way home had more hills than the way to work, and sometimes I was so exhausted from a day of working outside, I wanted nothing more than to get home and off my bike. I remember one day where I actually cried going up the hill because I had a horrible headache, the wind was so strong, and I was just feeling sorry for myself. But still, I biked every day, and the one day that I drove to work, I felt sleepy and sluggish and vowed not to drive to work anymore that year.
I started a tradition of each morning stating in my head three things I was grateful for that day. It usually involved something like, “I’m grateful it’s not raining yet”, “I’m grateful for my burrito I will have for lunch today”, and “I’m grateful it’s almost Friday.” But sometimes, it was bigger and more reflective things, such as health, opportunity, forgiveness, and fresh air. This helped set my day with good intention and a positive attitude.
After Americorps, I didn’t bike to work each day and my 3 things habit didn’t happen as often until I moved to Corvallis years later where I started to bike to work started to state the 3 things I was grateful for once again. Now that I have moved further away from work, I only bike on sunny warm days, and I do need to remind myself to practice daily gratitude.
November is a great time for reflection on gratitude, after all, we have a whole holiday dedicated to being thankful. I am incredibly blessed in my life and am so grateful to have my basic needs met, have a full time job that I enjoy, and have so many great people in my life. I could write an entire list. But, for now, I will focus on just 3 things.
- When I was growing up, all I wanted was to feel like I fit in and had a place where I felt like I belonged. I’ve been lucky to be a part of lots of different communities throughout my life, and they continue to grow, evolve, and change. My friends and family from where I grew up are my solid base, but since I live 1300 miles away, I have learned to find community where I am at. These are people who I know I could go to if I needed help, advice, or support. The three biggest communities in my life right now are my outdoor group, the Chemeketans, the Hike Like A Woman ambassadors, and Oregon State University colleagues and friends. I have learned so many outdoor skills from the Chemeketans and have felt supported and challenged by the trips I have taken. I have also formed several close friendships with members and am excited to give back some of the knowledge I have gained at their annual climb school this spring. I have also been lucky to be part of the Hike Like A Woman 2017-2018 ambassador team. Through Hike Like A Woman, I have been able to interact with women who live in other states and countries, write blogs and do videos, and have a voice in a bigger outdoor community. My OSU colleagues, especially within a small ladies happy hour group, are there to support me professionally as well as personally, and I value their friendships.
- I feel really fortunate to live in the beautiful state of Oregon, and this year I have had so much fun climbing, hiking, camping, and backpacking here. I have also been able to travel to California and Washington for some pretty epic adventures at Joshua Tree National Park and North Cascades National Park.
- What greets me at the end of the day. I am so grateful to have now spend an entire year in my very own home. It feels like a comfortable retreat at the end of the day where all my favorite things are displayed. I have a garden in the summer, room for flowers and a grill, and a place to just be outside. And the best thing about going home, is the fluffy white dog who greets me at the door with puppy kisses and snuggles with me on the couch.
Life gets busy, confusing, and hectic. Even so, all it takes is a few minutes to think of 3 things that you are grateful for. What are your 3 things today?