A few years ago I was in the car with my husband, driving out of New York City. We had spent the evening in the city, hanging out with my friends from high school and their significant others. As we drove, I thought about our evening out and my friends and my husband and kids and overall life. I was overwhelmed, once again, with joy.
I turned to my husband, the beginnings of tears in my eyes. “Do you ever stop and realize how unbelievably lucky you are?” I asked. “Do you stop and think ‘how did I get to be so blessed?’”
“No, not really,” he answered.
Luckily, I didn’t take his response personally, and I still don’t. That day I was on too much of a high to let anything bring me down. “Well I do,” I told him. “I stop and actively think about how unbelievably blessed and lucky I am. I think about it every day.”
I do think about it every day. I go out of my way to think about it every day. I set aside time to call out my blessings; I make lists of things I appreciate; I intentionally notice beautiful sunrises and sunsets and trees and anything I can find; I ponder, with wonder, my family – my husband and two children.
I think about it every day and it’s a gentle practice that makes me smile. And then sometimes it hits me hard, seemingly out of nowhere. Like this morning, as I sat for my twenty minutes of “quiet time” and suddenly found myself sobbing. Sobbing hard. Sobbing with joy.
Perhaps one of the best things about having a past that’s less than rosy is that it can make your current world seem extremely rosy. I’ve checked with others who had a checkered upbringing and they generally agree. They seem more likely to call out how wonderful life is, when life is honestly just normal. They are more likely to choose not to take things for granted – their families, their friends, their ease of life. They notice it all and appreciate it all and revel in it all. Maybe because they never expected it to be “this good.” That’s how I usually feel. I didn’t even know that this good existed.
I like when I shed my tears of joy. I like being overwhelmed with how lucky I am. I feel a bit guilty, or some weird emotion, as I write it here. I think it’s not normal, or maybe not accepted, to revel in public. Is it too self-involved to admit that I cry because I feel so lucky?
I don’t think so. I think it’s fine. I think that anyone who holds it against me – well, I probably shouldn’t care what they think anyway. I would want most likely everyone I know, and certainly everyone I love, to feel this way. To have these moments where they’re overcome with gratitude and appreciation for the blessings of their life.
I wish it for you.
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