At many points in my life, I have felt the need to focus on my blessings and all the goodness in my life. It is very easy to complain. I have been complaining consistently for over a year now. And throughout this time, I keep returning to the call to be more grateful and less selfish. I have not been very successful in that endeavor. It's probably like anything, I'm guessing, in that it's a matter of discipline.
In order to stay in a place of gratitude, I must train my mind to refrain from complaints, particularly those with no solution, and refocus on the positives. I cannot allow my mind to go wherever it wants to go. I must guide my thoughts and intentionally turn away from some of them.
To that end, I'm going to start a "daily gratitude" habit. My morning and night prayers will be focused on giving thanks. And, when I have a moment here and there, I will record my gratitudes. I'm re-training my mind. Here's today's gratitude:
Oct. 23, 2016-
Walking through the woods with my little man on a sunny day...he told me that a bear, skunk, hedgehog, wolf, and sheep all lived together in a small cave that we passed. He then told me stories about their adventures together. He fits perfectly into my world; God made Him so well. At the same time, there are many moments that I'm stretched to fit into his world, which is not always so easy but often very rewarding.
Thursday, October 13, 2016
Before kids, Brandon and I got out for some type of outdoor adventure together two times a week, sometimes more. On a mountain bike ride or on a climb, we both felt rejuvenated and full of life. We forgot about our worries and enjoyed the present moment.
Since kids (4+ years), Brandon and I have enjoyed exactly one mountain bike ride and one climbing outing. And these two were so short and required so much effort to coordinate that the "escape" sensation was not achieved. I have spent a ton of mental energy trying to figure out how to get more of that since having kids. And all that thought has led to nothing. So I feel perpetually frustrated and wanting, trying to find a solution to our "problem".
Maybe the bigger problem is not accepting my present reality. Maybe I should stop looking for ways to get little bits of my old life back and instead fully immerse myself in my new life. I see plenty (read: most) parents do this. They lose themselves entirely in parenthood. They have zero interests outside of raising their kids. They don't even read for pleasure; on their bedside tables, you find books about how to handle tantrums, raise a well-balanced child, and tips for dealing with the troublesome teenage years. Every weekend, the entire weekend, is dedicated to soccer or football or softball. If you try to talk to these parents, they have no conversational material other than the lives of their kids.
So look, I'm not here to judge. It's just that that version of parenthood doesn't fit me. I don't have the ability to give up all of me; I'm too selfish. I also happen to think its not all that healthy, for the parents or the kiddos.
I guess I'm trying to find a middle ground. I want to climb and mountain bike and ski tour with my husband. I understand it won't be that often. The "solution" I've been trying for, I believe, is trying to get these moments together more often than never. I want to reach that balance point where what you want and expect is reasonable enough that it occurs most of the time, and you are satisfied because your expectations are met, instead of feeling constantly disappointed. Any tips from parents out there who have found a middle ground? What does it look like and how did you get there?