If you’re having one of those days when keeping your chin up feels a little too much like Olympic weightlifting, then you came to the right place.
Inspired by a recent email making the rounds, I sat down and scratched out a list of the most unlikely blessings in my life. Forget the obvious—they’re easy to recognize. Today, I listed my selection of silver linings (pun intended: silver hairs and age lines are both included in the ranking).
It felt liberating to play my hand—lay a list of “troubles” on the table, and then flip them over one-by-one to reveal their underlying gifts. In doing so, I discovered a whole new layer of gratitude.
Take a look at my list, and then write your own. How much do you want to bet the weight you think you’re carrying becomes lighter by the time you’re finished? Mine did.
I am grateful for …
… back-breaking work because it means I have working legs that still move, arms that lift, and a back still capable of lifting.
… the taxes I pay because it means I have a job. (This little lesson came from my tax accountant when I was complaining about the new bracket I found myself in. “It could be worse,” he said. Thinking he was going to tell me about a higher bracket, he said, “You could owe nothing but then you wouldn’t be working. That’s a bracket far worse.” Right. To celebrate, I’m going to have Pay Day candy bars ready for us to eat when I write my [GULP] check to the IRS.)
… tears of heartache that free up room in the well of my soul for joy—a lesson in contrast.
… the feeling of a snug waistband that reminds me I have plenty to eat.
… the parking spot I can’t find in the food co-op parking lot because it means I don’t yet qualify for an ADA decal on the window of my car and I can WALK.
… the chore of cleaning the chicken coop because it means I have chickens that feed me; shoveling manure because it means I own a cow (or two:).
… the humongous heating bill I pay because it means my employees and I have the privilege of staying warm easily in the winter.
… unexpected traffic delays because it means someone other than me is standing outside in the cold clearing a road for me to drive on.
… the “exorbitant” property taxes I pay as a commercial business owner because it means I am a woman who owns property. Worldwide, women own something like only 5% of all properties. I’m adding a tiny increase to that growing percentage.
… different (make that “polar opposite”) points of view among the “friends” I know online because it means I get to experience new perspectives, bringing me that much closer to my own.
… messes left (coffee grounds everywhere but in the compost bucket, dish towels used to shine black boots apparently, tools not put away, ETCETERA!!!!) that remind me I have been visited by friends and family.
… endless complaining—government this and government that—because it means we have the right to an opinion.
… the privilege of being a good CUSTOMER for those who provide me with services rather than a mere CONSUMER.
… frustration at the end of a day’s work because I didn’t get everything done, meaning I’ve been given a second chance.
And, yes, those silver strands of hair and crow’s feet around my eyes that reassure me I have lived long enough to enjoy the embrace of grandchildren. Delicious!