.A Day of Gratitude.

Can you believe it is December already? The months have just flown by. Regardless, I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe as it has been a crazy year so far.

As we crawl through lockdown 2, I have got to admit, it’s been tough to find motivation. Motivation to stay connected with friends, and motivation for writing and studying. It is cold here in Vienna (not Canada-cold) and dark at 4 p.m. so what motivates me is the thought to go home after work, make hot chocolate and curl up on the couch with a good book. No need to go anywhere since everything is closed anyway. Though I am trying to remain optimistic, staying indoors and everything going on in the world is starting to take a toll on my mind. I am learning to find joy in my routines, but some days are just tougher than others. This uncertainty gets me every time even though I know nothing is certain in life.

Luckily, a few things will start to open up next week, but I am grateful for the time we have been able to spend outside in nature. We have discovered some new spots in Austria to keep our weekends interesting. Austria is one of my favorite places to explore and photograph. The mountains make me feel so small.

If there is anything I have learned in 2020, it is that I don’t have a clear idea or vision of what will happen next in this world. With everything that is going on, from the pandemic to the protests, terrorist attacks, the government “allowing us” to celebrate Christmas with family (which will then lead to another lockdown in January 2021), and the politics around the election in the US, we don’t seem to be getting a break, do we? It is easy to look at our current situation in despair, and experience depression, anxiety, grief, and distress.

I cannot offer any overnight solutions, but my heart keeps tugging me to share something because I know that this year has been difficult and that I am not alone in feeling despair. The many things that have happened this year continue to reflect how broken this world is: the hate, injustice, sickness, and pain.

Amid the chaos that this year continues to bring, the thing that brings me hope is not this world, but a greater, more perfect world to come. I genuinely believe that it is possible to live in a place with no racism, no climate change, no sorrow, no pain, no suffering, no fear. If we all would work a tiny bit together instead of against each other on a daily basis, a big step in the right direction would be made. To find joy in the little things again, to be grateful and appreciate to be alive. I can find peace in that.

It also shouldn’t take the holiday season to remind us to be thankful as we have much to be grateful for every day. Here are a few things I have noticed just today, that made everything just a little bit better as gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. Keep your head up and may this short and simple list make you realize that there is still good all around us.

  • family
  • a helping hand
  • a loving partner
  • friends
  • warm sheets on a cold morning
  • to be able to get up without any pain, make breakfast, and start the day
  • a new day which brings a clean slate
  • a slow morning with time for reading before I wake up my son
  • the warmth of the sun
  • signs of growth (yourself, plants, your child(ren)
  • a cup of water to quench the thirst
  • the perfect bite of food (especially if someone else cooks for you)
  • that I have more belongings than I will ever need
  • a moment of quiet
  • to see true excitement and happiness in my son’s eyes
  • good, nutritious homemade food
  • a safe home
  • fresh, clean air
  • the morning and afternoon light
  • a quickly cleaned surface
  • playing in the snow
  • the feeling of taking a hot bath or shower
  • peace within

Stay happy. Stay healthy. Stay sane.

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