I have never really been a “crunchy” or New Age or woo-woo type of person. I consider myself a skeptic, though I’ve been told I am told tend toward altruism.
I will say I have always been a glass-half-full, silver linings, cheer-up-it’ll-be-okay kind of gal.
I’m one of those people who will cheer you up against your will. Just ask my husband when he feels like settling into a good pout or wallowing in annoyance over something that happened at work.
I am not a #blessed on Instagram or FB or Twitter person. But I do often feel — not blessed, exactly, as I am not particularly religious — grateful.
I am big on gratitude.
Gratitude is defined as “the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.”
And what a beautiful word that it.
Being thankful for what we have. Being ready, able, and willing to show appreciation. Receiving and giving kindness.
The world can always use more of it.
I often reflect back on growing up staunchly middle class. We had what we needed and not much extra. My mom was a single mother of 2 before marrying my wonderful stepfather, who brought in another 3 kids, to have a blended family of 5, of which I was the youngest.
Even with two incomes, times got tight sometimes.
And that’s ok! That’s normal and something many families in America and across the world go through on a daily basis.
We had love, laughter, a lot of noise, dogs, a cat, a backyard, and a safe neighborhood. We had good schools and unending support for one another.
Now, as an adult, I have more money.
Not less love or support, though.
In fact, I’d argue I have MORE love and support and encouragement than ever. I have married an amazing man, who came in with his own loving, supportive family. My parents still offer unqualified and unconditional love and support.
I just have more money now. Being DINKs (double income, no kids), we do well. We live in an incredibly high cost of living area (NYC), but it works well for us.
We can afford to travel, buy holiday gifts for friends and family (even go a little overboard at times!), donate to support our favorite causes, and save money for the future.
We recently bought our first home.
Having more money in the bank has not changed me at all.
Every time I look at the number in my savings account, I wonder, “When will it be enough that I don’t worry any more? What number will make me feel secure?”
I haven’t found that answer yet, but I hope I will someday.
I still have that middle-class kid in me. I shop around for the best prices before buying anything, I still feel the need to “justify” spending money on myself (though I have no problem spending my money on loved ones or things for our home), I still save as much as humanly possible — “just in case.”
But I am also aware every single day of what I have and am grateful every day for my life, my friends and family, the things I am able to have and do, and more.
I fundamentally have not changed. Though my surroundings and circumstances have, I am grateful every single day for the work we do. We don’t just get money for nothing, my husband and I both work hard to have a great life, and with hard work and a little luck (and a lot of gratitude and encouragement), we have built a beautiful life surrounded with the people and things which make us happy.
I am proud that I can use my platform and some of what we’ve earned to help those who need it, and I encourage you all to do the same. Even when it’s not monetary. Offer an ear to a friend in need, donate old books to the library, old clothing, shoes, and bags to Salvation Army and shelters, donate your time to volunteer with animals or humans who need help. I thoroughly encourage donations and volunteering — it makes you feel great, helps others, and puts life in perspective in many ways.
I do not often make public statements like “hashtag blessed,” but I am extremely grateful and happy for everything in my life — including you, dear reader. I write because I must. I write because it’s how I process my emotions, thoughts, and everything else. I write because I breathe. And you are here, reading my words.