Yesterday, after visiting the doctor, I was feeling very sorry for myself. Ill for three weeks, hardly been out the house, haven’t seen most of my friends and family since before xmas, and Spring so far away. And then I read an article about some of the aid work being done in Haiti – the lives saved, and the lives lost, and the work yet to be done to help survivors – and I cried, and felt very ashamed of myself for being so whiny about such a tiny problem, when people around the world are coping with things that are infinitely worse. And I got to thinking about all the things I have to be grateful for, and the more I thought of, the more my spirits lifted. It’s a very human tendency to get lost in our own problems, to lose perspective, and to focus on the negative rather than the positive. Trying to acquire a habit of gratitude is one definite way of boosting happiness, and one we so often forget about. Remind me of that next time I start complaining, will you?

So here are some of the things I am grateful for right now:

  • The sunny afternoon, so mild that I’ve had all the windows open. Spring may not be that far around the corner after all! I can’t wait to see the swathes of daffodils that grow along the roadsides here in Wales.
  • The health care system in this country. Yes, it has flaws and limits, but I try to never take for granted the fact that when I am sick or injured, I can walk into my doctor’s surgery, or into any hospital, and get free treatment and medicine. FREE.
  • My beautiful, cosy, comforting house. The bathroom is 99% done. The rest of the house needs a lick and a polish, but that’s nothing. It’s the nicest house I’ve ever lived in (and I’ve lived in a LOT of houses!). We have the best neighbours in the world, and the beach a stone’s throw away. It’s quiet. It’s a haven.
  • The fact that I’ve been married for 16 years now, and Tony is still (in fact more so) my best friend, the person I most want to be with, irreplaceable, the perfect complement to me.
  • This wonderful business. And most especially, the wonderful customers. I really can’t say it enough, you guys are more like friends than customers, and do you know how lucky that makes me feel? No one is ever demanding or difficult, you are all supportive and warm and funny and sweet, and you make it an absolute joy to work for. You send me such lovely emails and messages and comments, that brighten my days. And I’ve been the recipient of some incredibly generous and touching gifts too, flowers, chocolates, cake, hand knitted socks, books, cards, oh so much. I get a little teary thinking about it, such generosity and love towards someone that a lot of you have never even met, and I want you to know that I don’t ever take that for granted. Every week when I get the yarn ready, I get excited, because I feel like I’m having my own little yarn party. To feel like that, and get paid for it, well, could life get better than that?
  • My real life friends and family. I have so many, all special to me in their own way, and I have a few very, very close friends who are especially dear to me.
  • My general health and fitness. This has been a bad month healthwise, but apart from that, I’m stronger and healthier than I think I’ve ever been before. I’ve managed to maintain (and even keep going) my weight loss over the winter months, which feels like a huge achievement, and I’m looking forward to getting back to running soon, next week hopefully. I want to make this my healthiest year ever (I’ll just write off January!).

There were lots more things on the list, some little, some more profound, all adding up to a huge total of fortunateness that I must fight not to take for granted. 

Happy Things

I loved Rachel‘s idea of listing things you like, or that make you happy, and adding to it regularly. Life is so busy that we lose the habit of appreciation, and that makes hard times even harder. So, here’s my current list of happy things:

Luxurious products for the bath/shower. I made an order from Arran Aromatics last week, which arrived yesterday, and mmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I’m saving the bath oils and salts to christen the new bathroom when I get back from America, but in the meantime, I have to keep going back for a little sniff. I particularly like the Bay Rum bath/shower gel I got for Tony. It smells like old leather and cigars and tweedy jackets all rolled into one.

Old fashioned children’s books, such as Behind The North Wind, by George Macdonald. So cosy and sweet and comforting.

Fitting into a size smaller jeans!

And closely linked with that one, running. I’m nearly up to 20 minutes now of continuous running, which for someone who has been a couch potato all their life is pretty spectacular!!!

Lace knitting. Last week I picked up Mystic Waters, which had been hibernating since last Spring, and wow, I had forgotten how satisfying lace knitting is. It gives me the same kind of feeling I get when doing jigsaws…… !

My upcoming trip to America. Partly because I’m excited to visit a part of the US I’ve never been to (Michigan and Chicago), partly because I have two awesome travelling companions, partly because I miss my Plucky girl every day, and I can’t wait to see her, and partly because I’ve been working extra hard lately, and I really need a couple of weeks off.

And also because my lovely husband, while I’m gone, is renovating the bathroom! So when I come home, instead of having a dark grungy room that you want to spend as little time in as possible, I’m going to have a bright, light, fresh bathroom, with a big double ended bathtub, a relaxing haven. By the by, he had the chance to come to the US with us, but decided he would have more fun grubbing around in rubble and plaster dust. Bless him.

New purple shoes.

A gorgeous custom pendant that means I can carry my home everywhere I go.

How Do I Look? Does anyone else watch this? It’s fabulous!!!! 

My first cuddle with the cats in the morning.

The Cashmere Club. I’m still buzzing about that!