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  • Mia Rose

Gratitude

Last week was a complete whirlwind...in the greatest way possible! By some miracle, I was able to pull off work, parenting, traveling, helping out my niece and nephews, a birthday get together, shopping (yes, completely necessary), spending some quality time with friends, fueling my soul with two amazing concerts (James Bay & Michael Buble'), connecting with special people in my life, a great late night dance party and even squeezed in some self reflection. Life well lived. The old me, would have enjoyed all of the experiences I crammed in, but I probably would have felt worn out, a little stressed and definitely scattered. The new, eyes wide open me, just feels eternally grateful for feeling so alive and grateful for the experiences I've had. On Sunday morning after a great day and night out in my dear college town, I took my friend with me to the coffee shop that I spent so many hours in as an undergrad. We ordered and sat down at one of the very tables where I used to study or people watch or both. The place hasn't changed all that much. It smells and looks the same and it just has this feel to it that makes me feel like it's home. As I sat there, I could almost see my younger self. Like in the movies when the Ghost of Christmas Past brings you to see your old self. I could vividly imagine her. She was sitting there in this beautiful space confident, yet completely unsure of herself. Driven, but a little lost as to which path in life to take. Happy, but still wanting more out of life. Ok, so maybe she and I are still one in the same. haha! The thought that crossed my mind, was would I want to tell her what was ahead of her? Would I warn her of the mountain she would have to climb? The monsoon that comes out of nowhere, that she barely survives? The heartbreak, fear and uncertainty that she will encounter? I think most people I talk to would say no. They wouldn't want to know their fate and what might happen. I would say yes...I want her to know because I hate it that it took me this long in life to be TRULY grateful and truly acknowledge what it takes for me to authentically go through this life with passion and unwavering gratitude. It's easy for us to say we are grateful. I hear it all the time. I'm grateful for family, loved ones or for experiences. But why??Why are you grateful? Dig deeper! I am grateful for sitting third row at a James Bay concert because I'm a total fangirl and I have listened to his music during some pretty emotional times in my life. Seeing him sing to me (yes, to me...we had a moment....I was in ROW THREE!!!) was incredible. I felt all of the emotions of happiness and pain and excitement and worry just like I did when I listened to whatever song for whatever reason on whatever day. I am grateful for love and being loved, but it's more than that. I'm grateful for love because maybe it's the kind of love that makes me feel strong when really I am at my weakest. It keeps me going when I have every reason to fold. Or it makes me want to be better and live life fuller and with more happiness. I am grateful for time with my children, but what specifically makes me grateful? When I read to my four year old before bed, I'm grateful to feel his little hands on my arm and the questions he asks about the story. I'm grateful that I get to hear his sweet voice start a sidebar conversation about events that happened throughout his day. It's a hard fact to swallow that because of my life's journey, I am faced with acknowledging this as such a gift, but I am better for it. I went to a dance club over the weekend and I was grateful to be able to dance and laugh and smile and just be in the moment. I didn't care what anyone else thought or how I looked. I just enjoyed hearing great music and hanging out with a great friend. Moral of the story..I"m grateful that I'm not taking these moments, big or little, for granted anymore. Here is the ongoing challenge for myself and hopefully one you consider doing as well. They say expressing and acknowledging gratitude is the foundation for a happy existence. I started a gratitude journal in January and each day I pick just 3 things that I am grateful for that day. I have to admit that my #1 is always the same..I"m grateful I'm still alive. That kind of goes against my rule of adding more detail as to why, but in my heart I know why. I'm grateful because I almost wasn't still here. Because I had to utter the words "Bring the kids to see me if things don't start turning around so that I can give them the words they will need to hold on to for the rest of their lives." I still don't know what those words would have been, but I had to utter that sentence between sobs and that was enough for me to just be grateful that I'm still here. My other two things change day to day. Sometimes I'm grateful for something kind of silly, like my socks actually matching or maybe a nice compliment from someone I love or from a stranger. I've been grateful for a text message that meant nothing more than someone took the time to think of me that day. It could even be that my barista surprised me with adding a little sea salt to my latte! Yum!! Other times it's bigger things, like my daughter held her head high when faced with great adversity or I didn't back down when challenged by someone who didn't show me any respect whatsoever. On a good day, it's how I somehow managed to go pain free that day. (My clinical trial while saving my life, is also making healing from my surgery pretty darn excruciating...still! ugh.) I think the point is, that it's easy to identify what goes wrong or unfulfilled in your day. Taking the time to look at what went right is the foundation to intentionally living. While my life experience has kind of forced me to look at these things in the way that I do, my wish for that girl in the coffee shop would have been that she started living that way at her young age. I think she would have made her way through life with so much more grace, love, passion and determination because she would have known that the future is not guaranteed. Living in the moment,

pursuing what makes you happy in order to feel complete, as well as, being grateful in the moment is the essence to living a full and happy life. I guess while I wish I would have thought about this all sooner, I'm thinking about it now and that is truly what matters. -M

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