On Attitude and Gratitude

Hey loves,

It seems like my posts are getting fewer and farther between but I have not forgotten about you — not in the least! It’s been something to adjust back to full-time work after three years off, all while managing my mental health and lingering effects from my chemo treatments for leukemia that you can read more about here.

I have had a hard time with feeling undeserving, and it has been pointed out to me that I may have low self-esteem, and even recently by one friend that on some days, I can have a downright bad attitude. I am negative. I know this about myself. I feel jaded about most things, and I feel that life is mostly unfair. To counter this, I am putting into place a practice I have done in the past to turn around my baditude. I have been writing in journals, and looking up old lists, and scribbling down on scrap pieces of paper whenever inspiration hits, a gratitude journal.

We in Canada just celebrated Thanksgiving, so maybe I am a bit late to the sentiment, but the holidays are coming and these are especially times to remind ourselves of the positive things in our lives. What sparked this was actually a very tumultuous Thanksgiving holiday, full of unmet expectations, uncalled for accusations, and unjust assumptions, and I’m not saying I’m innocent in all the drama. But more on this later.

Without further delay, here are 12 things that I am thankful for:

  1. Seasons: Whether it be that balmy summer day, the first crisp day of autumn, that first snowfall when winter hits, or when the warmer weather finally breaks in the spring, I am glad to live in a climate where you really get to experience all 4 seasons to the fullest.
  2. Technology: From connecting with a friend in Australia in my down-time, streaming a plethora of music and TV shows from home or when I am mobile, to hearing the voices of my loved ones when we are miles away, and even to sharing memories with an online network, I couldn’t imagine my life were I to live in another time.
  3. Cuisine: It can be late-night rice pudding, a hearty gyro (my fav!), or the first sip of a warm coffee in the early morning: I am grateful for all that feeds me and nourishes me and keeps me energized and satiated. When I think of “treating myself” it is almost synonymous with food and it is nice to indulge every now and then.
  4. Self-Care: Between bubble baths, face masks, mani-pedis, or even a good sweat sesh, there are plenty of ways to take care of our bodies. It is important to nurture the vessel that takes us through our every day lives because it is what gets us from points A to B, and through 1 to 100.
  5. Slumber: I love those last few minutes in the morning before getting out of bed. I do my best sleeping in the morning, and though my alarm is set early, it is because I like to lay in bed, unbothered and just enjoy those few moments between reality and a dream world. Even those last few moments right before falling asleep, when you drift off into peace… the absolute best.
  6. Garments: Tailored jackets, over-sized scarves, clothes that make us feel comfy (I’m looking at you, sweatpants) and others that make us feel confident (hola, ankle boots). What we wear can make us feel a million different ways, as well as protect us from the elements. Stylish or not, it is a way to express ourselves and have a sense of identity, while being mostly practical.
  7. Literature: Ah, that new book smell. I am not a fan of hardcover, as most are. I’m more of a paperback gal myself, but nothing beats a new book, an old favourite, or hours getting lost (or found) in a book store. I am grateful for all the female memoirs and autobiographies that I have read, and have piled up on my night table to get to, and even for all the influential bloggers I have come across this past 15 months and more. Writing and reading transcends time and it is forever my number one.
  8. Recycling: Or up-cycling, for that matter. I have found some of my favourite things from refurbished bits and pieces and even when something has no use to me anymore, I take comfort in knowing that I can donate it, or pass it along so that it can find new life with someone else. I try to always have more recycling than I do garbage and teaching those around you, and encouraging your government about composting can be a good way to have a positive impact in the world.
  9. School/office supplies: Hi-liters, post-its, blue ball-point pens, that perfect agenda. I love supplies. I am meticulously organized when it comes to my studies or my profession. I like lists, categories, and compartments. Nothing big to this one, just a simple joy of mine.
  10. Medicine: And universal health care. You know, given me and my family’s health past I am so lucky to live in a place where I know our health is mostly provided for and I can only hope the same for the rest of the world.
  11. Mantras: I love looking up positive affirmations and quotes, even if I have less time to do it now, though I should probably be doing it now more than ever. Even a simple mindful meditation, whether it be stretching before getting up in the morning, deep breathing, creative visualization, meditative colouring, or other relaxation techniques you find, it can be the simplest yet most powerful way to take control of your situation, reaction, and mood.
  12. Family and friends: Family are some of the first friends we make, and friends are the family we choose. They are not perfect, as nobody is, and having relationships opens us up to disappointments, but most of the time our relationships are what are most precious to us. From making memories, to dreaming about the future together, relationships are an important aspect of our lives. They can get strained, forsure, and not all of them are healthy and it’s important to recognize this, and surround yourself with people who support you and bring out the best in you.

And as for Thanksgiving. It was mostly a write-off for me this year and I’m okay with that. I took the time and space I needed to heal and protect myself as I hope to continue to do throughout the upcoming holidays. You are the only one you are guaranteed to spend the rest of your life with. So you better like yourself, and feel as though you’re ultimately doing the right thing. Only you can make decisions regarding yourself and where and how you spend your time and energy, and you and those around you will have to live with the consequences of those actions for the rest of your life.

Sending you big hugs, babes.

xo

Ashlinn

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6 thoughts on “On Attitude and Gratitude

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  1. Glad to have read this. It comes at the end of the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, and when a few of my own more important friendships are strained. Things will right themselves, so long as I don’t go back to my old Emo and Angst act.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m all-too-familar with emo and angst! Haha. Holidays are tough. I lost my mum right at American Thanksgiving 11 years ago now when I was just 17. A lot of family had a lot of griping to do about me flying to Texas to spend our first Christmas without her to see my childhood best friend and her Jewish family and then to New York City to spend NYE with my boyfriend of the time and his family who were visiting there. Family isn’t perfect and honestly getting away from the remnants of losing my mum and just focusing myself on being young and having fun was probably the best thing for me. There are a lot of expectations and consequently disappointments around the holiday but it is a time to spend on whatever makes you grateful. Not to self-promote too much but check out my latest post: https://ashlinnsarahjane.com/2017/11/23/on-grief-and-the-holidays/ I am sorry you lost your partner, as I read on your blog. This last post of mine helps clarify the types of grief for me, both immediate and long-term and how with every subsequent holiday I am mourning a new landmark without her. Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll stop by again!

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