gratitude journal

One niggling fear that’s been worrying me is that I’m stretching myself too thin, adding school in. I mean, John helps out with chores/ etc., but our schedules make it difficult to properly work it all out. One thing I appreciate about John is that he’s pretty understanding of my need for “me time,” where I can just veg or read or draw or paint or what-have-you for a bit with no interruptions or demands.

It’s a rare trait to find, when a person doesn’t get all personally insulted because you say, “Look, you’re cool and all but just go away for like 30 minutes so I can de-stress here.” John’s one of the few people in my life who has shown that understanding.

Anyway, I’ve been a little concerned about adding a full credit load to a 40 hour workweek + family. They say for every hour of class you’re in a week, you need to spend two hours on homework — since I’m in approximately 12 hours of class a week, that’s 24 hours dedicated to homework. So essentially two jobs + family.

Tonight I attended my first class. It’s from 6 – 9 pm, so I leave work and drive straight to school. Dee watched Austin, as she will every week for the rest of the quarter. We received the syllabus, and I was happy to see the expected assignments aren’t at all overwhelming: we have to read two chapters a week, write a two page reaction paper to turn in each week, and we have one eight-page paper due near the quarter’s end. The most daunting part to me is actually the bit where we have to take 20 minutes everyday to de-stress.

Our teacher wants us to engage in some sort of activity that rejuvenates us for those 20 minutes — meditation, Tai Chi, Yoga, exercise, contemplative prayer, etc. I was trying to figure out where I could fit in 20 minutes a day; wondering if a shower could count as meditation. Then she slid to the next slide, which had more examples — including journaling. I was like sweet, I got this bitch.

She listed a few types of journaling, but the one that most caught my fancy was a “Gratitude Journal,” where I list 5 things every day that I’m grateful or appreciative of. I’m not entirely sure this won’t become repetitive, but I’m willing to give it a go. So without further ado, today’s gratitude list:

  1. I’m grateful for John. He’s one of the rare areas where I still fall speechless trying to express my wonder and joy at our relationship. We’ve had some really rough patches, I won’t lie — but in the end, we learned that we always have each other’s backs, and we love each other absolutely (flaws and all). I am so lucky to have such a supportive, encouraging, funny, compassionate, generous husband.
  2. I’m grateful for Kidling. I don’t know what magical combination of time and circumstance and genetics landed me such a great kid, but I got lucky with him.
  3. I’m grateful for the modern amenities in my life. Dishwasher. Oven. Shower. Internet. I would not give these things up for all the tea in China (or, more appropriately, all the coffee in Cuba).
  4. I’m grateful for my job. I’m still struck with amazed gratitude every day when I sit down at my desk. I can’t believe how stunningly lucky this opportunity was — I interviewed a year ago, and wasn’t a good fit for that position. But they hung onto my resume, and a full year later (almost to the day!) they called me back to interview for a different position. Now I’m an office manager in a small office of great people. Even luckier, my co-workers are all super cool, laid back, hard-working, intelligent people that are just individually nice. It really is a dream job situation.
  5. I’m grateful for the opportunity to attend college. It just goes to show that every cloud has a silver lining. In February 2011, John injured his knee and couldn’t work. That was sort of a straw-that-broke-the-camels-back, financially speaking, and we foreclosed on the house and moved in June, knowing we would have to file bankruptcy. In late July, John was able to return to work, but in October he had to take another leave of absence when Crazy Mike sucker-punched him and broke his jaw. All told, John was unable to work for about 8  months total in 2011 . . . which meant I qualified for enough financial aid to attend the 2012-2013 school year debt-free and loan-free. After this year, I will have one academic year left in order to earn my Bachelor’s, and I will have been able to do so completely debt and loan free. That’s a rare situation.

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