Is life really better or do I just appreciate it more?

The other day I was reading over the last One Thousand Gifts post I wrote, and thinking, I have such a great life! And I do. But I haven’t always been so happy. The last three years have been full of some pretty dramatic transitions and difficulties. Some changes were happy, some were difficult, and others were just big. Over the last three years I’ve

  • lost all my friends and family in one week (also known as moving to another country)
  • transitioned from college to professional life
  • moved from a close-knit community house of 20 fantastic friends to a fast-paced, lonely city of about 16 million
  • had some really difficult roommate situations
  • had a serious dating relationship for the first time
  • got married to someone (amazing!) from another country
  • watched some people dear to me go through incredible suffering and difficulty
  • had pretty severe culture shock

It’s been…a lot. Let’s just say I haven’t always been what we call a happy camper the last three years. This summer I’m finally starting to feel adjusted. Acclimated. Relaxed. Calm. Happy. What happened? Why am I so much calmer? Is my life really that much better? Maybe I’ve had a great life all along, but now I finally have a bigger capacity to appreciate it…

I think the answer is somewhere in the middle. Part of it really is that my life is calming down. But I think that part of it also has to do with the habit of gratefulness. The One Thousand Gifts project is about making thankfulness an integrated, disciplined part of my life. I have so much to be thankful for! But sometimes I don’t realize it until I write it down.

It’s been a great experience so far, and I find myself now actively hunting and treasuring up all the good, positive gifts in my life. It makes me feel rich and so blessed. Also, I am finding that it’s much harder to feel gloomy or discouraged when I’m focused on tallying up such a long list of positive things. It’s so good for me to celebrate the silver lining!

So, with no further ado, here are a few things I am thankful for this lovely last week in August:

  • 42. An email from my boss saying she really liked my news story ideas!
  • 43. Finding out I married someone who’s able to give me wise, loving, helpful, constructive advice and critique. We’re such a good team!
  • 44. A long walk with my umbrella on Monday – shrill yell of hyper rubber on water-logged asphalt near the highway and the quiet drip in the park
  • 45. Gorgeous, rainy, brilliant sunset

    gorgeous, rainy August sunset

    gorgeous, rainy August sunset

  • 46. My husband waiting to whisk me off in his car after my last class of the day
  • 47. Early morning class cancellations, and getting to sleep in!
  • 48. Really delicious gnocchi experiment

    YUM! Homemade gnocchi!

    YUM! Homemade gnocchi!

  • 49. Seeing friends back in Moscow after their long summer vacations, and hearing all the cool ways God has blessed them, and worked in their lives.
  • 50. Chinese lunch date with my husband – weird noodles, chopsticks, green tea, shaved mushroom salads and getting to see him in the middle of a busy work day
  • 51. Getting to wear scarves, autumn skirts, my favorite jacket and enjoying hot tea for the first time in a long time.
  • 52. A friend generously bringing some new books back from the States in her suitcase for me. New reading in English!
  • 52. Seeing progress in my work and little “step by step” resolutions. Taking small, consistent steps every day really does add up!
  • 53. Finding out the expensive paperwork I’ve been trying to push through Russian bureaucracy for the last year is still good for another three months – I don’t have to start all over again!
  • 54. A calm rainy weekend – sleeping in, cooking, working, cleaning, being with my love
  • 55. Church – fun singing practice, and a good conversation over mint tea and oatmeal cookies with friends back from England. I feel so ready for the fall whirlwind of activity to kick in!
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One Response to Is life really better or do I just appreciate it more?

  1. Maryfran says:

    🙂 hmmm really glad that you discovered this!

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