Friday, October 19, 2012

Thankfulness journal

Once upon a time I was sitting in my big sister Emily's room being a nosy little one. I think I had just entered my double-digits and I still considered everything Emily did as something worth emulating (not that I don't still believe that now, but I've become very much my own person). So when I found a journal she'd started writing in which listed things to be thankful for, I figured it was an exercise worth trying myself.

As an avid collector of notebooks, journals and paper materials in general, I had no trouble finding my own place to start a diary on thankfulness. I wrote a single entry, detailing all that made me happy in the world. I'm sure it involved lots of bulletpoints about famous popstars and vague but melodramatic ramblings about personal issues.

While I couldn't tell you exactly what I wrote, I do know that despite the fact that I never returned back to my thankfulness journal to add more to the list, doing so once was a cathartic and insightful experience. There's something about reminding yourself what makes life worth living that, in turn, makes life truly worth living.

Self-fulfilling prophecy or whatever you want to call it, it's a magical experience just to be aware that there are things in the world to be thankful for. This is especially true because it can be so hard to remember where beauty exists when you feel down and troubled.

So in the interest of reminding myself once again (these eight or so years later) why the world is a beautiful place even when it's shared with experiences, things and people that aren't so beautiful, I am going to write another thankfulness journal entry. This time it's a blog entry, but much the same idea.

People who care to hear about my problems, and vice versa

It has come to my attention quite recently that I have a lot of feelings. While I was, in fact, already aware of this, I had no idea that I was publicizing it so widely that people would need to repeat it back to me.

For much of my life I only relied on one person whom I could tell my problems to. For a while that was my mom. Then it was my dad. And while I still believe that the first person you should always turn to with your problems are your parents (if yours are as good as mine, anyway), in time I came to know that surrounding myself with people who care about my well-being and happiness is just as valuable as having that one person (now my dad) who will hear me out whenever I'm down.

Things to sink my soul into

It's been years since my mind was deplete of drama. Considering that my mom had a stroke when I was 11, turning my whole world around in an instant, I've always found myself longing for some sort of stability in life - something to turn to.

And in the event that there isn't someone to talk to (which there often is) and sometimes in conjunction with having someone to talk to, I look to this thing called 'art.' Music, literature, film, television, theater, visual art, etc. I could go on forever listing the mediums, but instead I'll just say what they do for me. They give me something to live for and a way to forget.

Instant and fast food items that rot my insides, but fill my soul with unhealthy goodness

Since I've been in London, I've spent most of my time either missing meals out of laziness, or making lunches and dinners and trying my best to incorporate healthier food groups into my diet.

It's a hard road to travel when you're a college student sharing a kitchen and cooking supplies with four other people, especially when that means you can't even fit all of your food onto your refrigerator shelf.

So every now and again, while I've been here, I've allowed myself to indulge in something unhealthy. A few purchases at McDonald's, some Sainsbury's double chocolate cookies. What harm can these things do? Well, maybe I shouldn't ask that question. But when I need a quick pick me up, I'm certainly thankful for the availability of French fries and cookies. No remorse, no pride involved.

Having a clear and defined path, plus knowing that I'll get there

If there's no clarity in life, then it becomes all the more difficult to live it. That's always been the underlying philosophy of my decisions from childhood all the way to my early 20's (now). As early as five years old, I'd started planning my career path. While I did not end up pursuing a job in veterinary medicine, I did go to college just as I'd planned to. And over time, I discovered where my talents actually lied.

With that confidence, I've led a life toward eventual goals that are achievable and exciting. And where other people perhaps don't know what they'll do when they're done with school, even if I haven't secured a job yet I have so much faith in my goals that I have no fear they will not be met.

Feeling good about who I am in every conceivable way

One of my struggles throughout life has been the feeling of inadequacy when comparing myself to others. But in the past few years, little aspects of life have come together to make me feel more confident than I've ever felt before.

Maybe it's conceited, maybe it's just part of human nature's effort towards self-preservation. Whatever the case, I have grown into someone who (for the most part) feels good in her own skin. And even in moments when the spirit is lacking, I am thankful that I have any to begin with.

After all that...

I just want to say how thankful I am that the idea of a thankfulness journal exists. Even if I never could find enough ways to write about my happiness with life in a diary, focusing on the positive aspects of life, even just for the past 20 minutes or so, is an irreplaceable experience.

When I'm feeling down in the dumps, or just finding that less of myself is present at any particular moment in time, I know where to turn. It's not just my friends and family or my art, but also the little space in my heart that I save for positivity. That's where all this has come from, that's where I will always be happy even under the most disheartening of circumstances. 

No comments:

Post a Comment