So we’re in the last part of a very strange year. My body has been failing a little and I know I need to take better care of myself. It’s getting harder these days – in the darker, colder months – to find the will power and energy to do much or to see the bright side of things.
As I read back on my daily gratitudes it seems I have sought comfort and escapism through music, TV, film, books, and of course the hubby. Some of these things I have binged, some I have enjoyed whole-heartedly, others I have enjoyed whilst thankful that I am not going through those hardships.
I have found story telling a great form of escapism to provide some hope: the resilience of Emily from Emily in Paris, the finding of self worth by Fleabag in Fleabag, the heart-warming relationships and story lines in Little Women and Cougar Town, and that hope exists even in hell in The Sandman.
I have also inadvertently practised mindfulness whilst I try to ease some aching body part, which really helped a great deal. As always, music seems to ground me to the present, but this month I have found painting has helped a lot too. So this is my October gratitude journal, as I try to find glimpses of light in this long dark tunnel:
1 A couple of things today. Grateful for the hubby as he is so supportive and we make a good team. Also grateful for the body because it can move and do things, and I’m sure I’ll be super achey tomorrow for said moving and doing today.
2 Hubby: grateful for the hubby today helping me move around and getting things for me today. As expected I am super achey and never knew how much the back muscles are used in almost every movement. Turns out I usually do bend with my knees, and today more than ever to prevent any more back ache. Grateful for the hubby being patient with me hobbling about, preparing numerous hot water bottles, and massaging the achey back. Perhaps a wake up call to get in better shape and improve my posture.
3 Emily in Paris: grateful for this bright wonderful show. It’s addictive but funny and lovely. Everything is thrown at the main character, but she turns everything around. Of course it’s a tv show, but still nice suspending that disbelief and rooting for things to work out ok in the end.
4 Body: grateful for a recovering body today. My back has been aching like never before – ever. I never realised how often my back muscles are being used, I suppose because usually those back muscles do not ache. Today I’m grateful that those back muscles are almost recovered and soothed and I can mostly move around pain free.
5 Heating: grateful for heating today. Autumn is upon us and sweater weather is definitely here, so I’m grateful to be warm and cosy indoors with the heating on every now and then.
6 Creativity: grateful for a couple of creative things today. Listening to music whilst working, powering through tasks. Painting Paint By Numbers this evening whilst listening to Brandi Carlile, such a beautiful voice with some haunting songs. Also The Starry Night is looking really good, and it’s just wonderful losing yourself in the moment.
7 La Vie en Rose: grateful for this beautiful song today. Got out the ukulele to strum this rhythmic tune, a little fiddly, but so lilting and lovely. Grateful for some beautiful covers online too.
8 Kettle: grateful for the kettle today, as I was making hot compresses for my swollen eye to relieve some pain. It worked, though my eye is still quite swollen.
9 Music: grateful for music today. Listened to upbeat songs to power me through work and played the ukulele for a little while to relax in the evening.
10 Stillness: grateful for stillness and just sitting today. I’ve had a painful eye over the last couple of days and have had to sit still with a hot compress over said eye multiple times today to soothe it. The act of just sitting and being still has been good for both the eye and the mind, just being present and feeling the heat soothe the eye.
11 World Mental Health Day: although this actually took place yesterday, I’m grateful for such a day to raise awareness on mental health. Pandemic life and lockdown has taken its toll on many and sometimes it’s nice to remind ourselves that we are not in this alone, that there are plenty of others out there who are also struggling, and that we can get through things together.
12 Mentor: grateful for my mentor today, enthusing me and celebrating little wins. I realise that is not something I do often. My self reflection these days has often been rather negative, on how I can be better, or how I can improve. But today I realised I’ve come a long way and that I can, and should, celebrate little wins.
13 Lie in: grateful for a little lie in this morning. No morning exercise, extra time in bed, in the warmth. Boiler has been running a little funky lately, meaning no warm radiators in the morning, so staying in the warm bed a little longer was a nice treat.
14 A few things today. Grateful for honesty. Grateful for the hubby supporting me through dark times. Grateful for inspirational words putting some perspective in place. Grateful for the heating as the boiler was fixed.
15 A few more things today. Grateful for the hubby providing comforting hugs during a sensitive time. Grateful for Cougar Town providing a little comedy and joy. Grateful for batch cooking at weekends meaning being lazy and no cooking in the week.
16 Fleabag: grateful for this amazing show, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and everyone who made the show. Finally finished the second season and just wow. So raw and bittersweet, almost heart-breaking actually, what a rollercoaster of emotions felt in the safety of my home.
17 Body: grateful for the body today. I’ve pulled something in my leg, so I’ve had a hot water bottle near me all day trying to soothe the pain. I never realised how much I use my hamstrings, just sitting down or standing up. So I’m grateful for my body being able to move around pain free most days. Thinking my body is trying to tell me something with all these aches and pains lately.
18 Being present: grateful for doing things that keep me in the moment. Today we painted a little more of Paint by Numbers Van Gogh’s The Starry Night whilst listening to the brilliant audio dramatisation of Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman. I was actively listening, on the edge of my seat at times, paintbrush in hand, in case I accidentally painted the wrong part of the canvas. Lovely to be in the moment and forget about all the worries, engrossed in a story and some paint.
19 Mentor: grateful for my mentor today. Had another session and it really, oddly, does feel like therapy. Grateful for good advice and self reflection, as well as kind words during tough times. Grateful to know that someone genuinely has your back and wants to see you do well.
20 Couple of things. Grateful for a lie in this morning to have a little extra snooze. And grateful for an unannounced phone call which was nice.
21 Reflection: grateful for a little reflection today. Thinking about the past, what I’ve done, how far I’ve come. 10 years ago I didn’t think I’d be here. 5 years ago I also didn’t think I’d be here, but I am probably where 24 year old me wanted to be. But, I suppose, things change and people change and circumstances change and the world in general has changed. It’s weird, and I’m grateful to have realised, that dreams also change. And I think I’m slowly realising that’s ok too. I am only human.
22 Body: grateful for the body. Not aching today, probably will tomorrow though. Grateful I can move around at ease and reach things and do things with relative ease.
23 Stories: grateful for stories today. Last night I was avidly reading Little Women and absolutely loving it. The characters, the dialogue, the narrative – love it. Great to lose yourself in a good book, which I haven’t done in a while.
24 Cougar Town: grateful for this hilarious show today. So heart-warming too, it really hits me in the feels, whilst doing it so hilariously. Grateful to be able to sit and enjoy some great comedy.
25 Couple of things today. Grateful for sleep today as the clocks went back so had an extra hour in bed sleeping and recharging my batteries. Also grateful for Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman as it is riveting story telling with some masterful wit. We listened to an episode of the Audible book and hearing some parts immediately made me remember reading that part of the comic book, as if transported visually and aurally to this other world. Hearing James McAvoy utter the words “I am hope” is powerful stuff.
26 Exercise: grateful for exercise today. Got up earlier to move about and although I was super tired, afterwards I was surprisingly wide awake and ready for the day ahead of me.
27 A few things today: grateful for a little lie in, catching up on some snooze time. Grateful for maintenance people fixing and silencing the faulty fire alarm system, which had been beeping incessantly for around 18 hours. And grateful for skincare as my neck has been feeling super smooth today.
28 Catch ups: grateful for a quick little catch up today with someone I hadn’t spoken to in just over 2 years. So much has changed, it’s crazy thinking that in another 2 years so much will change again. Grateful for this little check in, to think about what you have before it becomes what you had.
29 A couple of things today: grateful for the hubby today for offering lots of warm hugs, support, and doing some chores that I just had no time to do. Also grateful for some words that strangely validated what I’ve been thinking and feeling these past few months. It was like a weight off my shoulders. Some things are difficult for a reason and I found out that reason today.
30 Coraline: grateful for this story today. Watched the film and grateful for it to show that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side and to face your problems rather than running away or hiding from them.
31 Halloween: grateful for Halloween, with fun songs, slightly creepy stories, and lots of chocolate. Grateful for this little day for children and adults having a bit of fun.