2014: One “Grote Jaar” of thanks and gratitude

gratitude-575 copy2014 has been the wildest year yet for me, and that says a lot, because for those who know me my years are anything but dull (Sometimes in a good way. Sometimes definitely not. Never dull). But this year has been wild in a fantastic, exciting, dreams coming true, pinch me kind of way. I think of all that has happened over the last 11 months and can’t even technically believe it has all found a way to happen in that short, finite timeline. My intention is not to brag by listing some of the facts I take the most pride and gratitude in; but rather to take just a moment from the day to day chaos and endless to do lists to reflect, celebrate success that hard work has created, and express gratefulness towards all those who have enabled and supported the realization of it all. So here goes… today I am thankful for the following things that have happened so far in 2014 (and so many more):

  • The experience of living with my sister, my best friend, for the first (and maybe last) time in my adult life.
  • Getting promoted and taking on a new job amidst one of the busiest times in my life. Even if it hasn’t played out the way I had hoped, I am grateful for the opportunities and lifestyle it has granted me.
  • Marrying the love of my life with the love and support of so many special people surrounding us.
  • The birth and survival of my Nephew, Joe Ciampa, even when medical odds were against him.
  • My dads going through positive recoveries – mine finding happiness after a difficult, saddening break up and my father in law having a successful surgery after months of agonizing pain.
  • The experience and memories of traveling and living abroad – so many after visiting 7 countries in 6 months this year.

thankful1I can’t limit all my feelings of gratitude to this year only, however. There are many things in my life that have defined who I am today, what direction my life has taken, and what gets me through each day, surviving (and sometimes sort of thriving) in the challenging world we live in. I could not complete a proper Thanksgiving post without calling out a few of these gifts that life has bestowed upon me as well:

  • Survival of my mother in law and grandmothers after beating breast cancer. Even though miles separate us today, I am grateful for their continued presence in this world and our lives every day.
  • The gift of siblings. I feel really sad for only children. While frustrating to manage at times, they are the only people in the world (that are not my parents) who have known me from day 1, get every single inside family joke and memory, and who I can be 100% myself with. Mind blowing and cool all at the same time.
  • Blessings from my parents and country, including: opportunity, an innate gift of motivation and hard work, freedom, and generally good health to do and pursue the things I choose to.
  • My incredible network of friends and family that are thoughtful, selfless and fun – a blessing that cannot be replaced with all the money or power in the world.
  • (ONLY in hindsight)- the heartbreak felt and lessons learned from many failed relationships which led me to the best husband in the world, and have made me a wife worth winning.
  • The opportunity to be a role model god mother, and the gift of watching my beautiful nieces and nephews grow into smart, polite, capable human beings.
  • My cat. My fat, fluffy, stubborn, but loyal cat who appreciates being safe and comfortable in our home, and shows it by affectionate snuggling each night and on my worst days.
  • Wine. Seriously. As sad as it sounds, I love wine and it makes a lot of days better, is present at many celebrations and makes life that much more enjoyable. There, I said it… I am thankful for wine.

Now the other side…I feel this level of gratitude often, but not as consistently as I should and not in real time. Too often, the day to day stress, corporate BS, unplanned mishaps and judgment by others dominates my conscious attitude. I end up being angry, resentful and/or stressed for 5 out of 7 days and then find 2 hours of inspiration on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning to put things in perspective. I am hopeful that by next Thanksgiving I can say that I am thankful for the newly developed gift of spontaneous perspective – the ability to take whatever the world throws at me and place it in its relevant compartment immediately- not days later.

What are you thankful for? And what are you looking forward to developing in yourself to become more thankful every day?