Saturday, November 20, 2010

Savoring the little things

The holiday season is upon us, beginning with Thanksgiving next week. We've had some achingly beautiful Fall days in the past 2-3 weeks. The nights have been chill and during the days, we've gone from putting on our heavy jackets to taking off our sweaters. The colors of the surrounding fauna have been ablaze with red, orange, gold, yellow, brown, and green. Heavenly!

I am so enjoying this phase of my life. Retirement has given me the chance to do, or not do, anything I can afford to do. I have made new friends and discussed old ideas. I even found new things to think about and to do with my hands that allow me to (continue) being lazy but seem to be accomplishing something (the procrastinator's dream!). I've cut my carbon footprint by more than half... maybe by 3/4. Recently, my car insurance company requested the mileage on my speedometer and sent me a revised bill that is $38 less than I would have paid. I imagined the clerk thinking "This woman needs to get a life!" Little does she know. My life is fuller than it's ever been. My children have advanced to the age where they feel they can tell me what to do, and I get to see them when they feel up to it; most of my grandchildren like to spend some time with me. (I have told my children that I'm not old enough to have kids their age. Well, I don't feel old enough.)

With Thanksgiving coming next week, my mind has turned to considering the idea of gratitude and the benefits of being thankful. I've discovered that although I don't have a lot of things (i.e. gold bathroom fixtures, a private jet, Mercedes in my parking space), I have much to be grateful for daily. I've realized that, just for that moment, the gratitude replaces the pain. It doesn't take away the trouble but replaces it with a small imprint of warmth and joy. Everyone has something to be thankful for. I can stand on my own two feet unconfined to a wheelchair; I eat what I want to when I want to (if I can get it); I can breathe unassisted; I can fall asleep whenever and wherever I happen to be; I can go wherever I want to if I have gas in the car or money to buy it. See? It's easy to find things to be grateful for if I try. The reduction in my insurance payment? It will cover the $25 increase in my next month's rent. Are there things that I can't control? Sure there are, and I've finally realized that I'm responsible only for deciding how I'm going to deal with them. I've come to accept that the fate of humanity isn't my total responsibility. Phew! What a relief! Try a little gratitude. You'll be glad you did.

Speaking of angst, the News is full of it about the TSA requiring more thorough security imaging and pat-downs of airline passengers. Get over it! Accept the scrutiny or stay home... it's still your choice. Hmmmm... it's been awhile since I had a good pat-down. May just have to head out to the airport.