I don’t know if there’s a place to write about feeling grateful these days. When so many are worried, are struggling, have lost loved ones. But even before all of this I’ve always sought to try and appreciate something, no matter how small, every single day. Hearing the birds on my way to the station each morning when I used to head to an office. How crazy happy my dog is to get ridiculously dirty and smelly on her daily walks. The light the sun sheds through our home at different times of day.
This current situation has taught me to be even more appreciative and not for the obvious like a roof over my head, the ability to buy food. I am eternally appreciative of these things, it goes without saying. But because now I’ve learned to really stop, to think, to listen. My loved ones are safe because brave people are keeping the country going. So I think everyone that can, shouldn’t think about what they’re missing but think about what they have.
Here are 5 things I’m grateful for right now.
I don’t think we always notice the seasons when life is so busy. Yes, it gets warmer, the days get longer. Do you ever see the changing vegetation day by day though? Do you ever think about how incredible it is that plants die back each year and then re-emerge in spring, fresh tendrils and new growth? Despite all that humans do to destroy this beautiful world we live in, nature still finds a way.
We live in a fairly green little part of London and I’ve never loved it more. To be able to walk Maddie in a park, or up to the woods. To listen to the woodpecker (still haven’t seen it no matter how hard I try!) or the owl in the trees at the bottom of the garden. We have a pair of resident ducks that return to the stream in the park each year, and the other morning we almost came face to face with a heron.
I’ve found new walks zig-zagging throughout southeast London that I never would have come across, leading me to beautiful views across the city and to stumbling across the Blackheath donkeys, what a treasure. The birdsong has always been raucous but even they sound more vibrant and I’ll never get tired of listening to it.
Somehow the days are flying by at the moment, every day I wonder how on earth it’s already 5.30pm when we’re up by 7am even at the weekends. There is time though. Time that’s not spent commuting, time to stop and actually talk to each other. Believe it or not although we’re in the same house we can go 3-4 hours without speaking, but I love having a little lunchbreak together or catching up over a cuppa in the kitchen.
The alarm goes off so Pete can exercise in the morning, a million times better for him than packing onto a crowded train at 6.30am. We’re having dinner at 7 instead of 8-8.30 and I can’t tell you how much happier this makes me (I’m the cook), to have dinner and then be able to relax for the evening rather than rush through it and feel like half the night has gone already.
I know that one day we’ll both be back working full time. No communicating to each other through the day because we never used to when we were both office based. Me getting home first but tired, thinking of what I have to do when I get in. Asking him what time he’ll be home so I know when to make dinner. Him coming home after another delayed train. The tiredness, the stress. We have time right now and I know I’ll miss this when it’s gone.
This feels like a weird one to include because compared to a lot of people I’m not in a good way right now. My ulcerative colitis is back to flare state which means some days I go to the toilet 6-7 times a day. It wakes me up in the night and I’m pretty tired a lot of the time. I’m so grateful though. Grateful to have the strength to walk the dog each day, to be in a position that I can really look after us both.
There’s been more cooking, better cooking. I’m not sure either of us have ever eaten so many veggies. Yes there’s booze although thankfully not the daily drinking that there was at the start of this. We have almost an entire cupboard full of sugary snacks and many, many bags of crisps but for once we’re not eating them all at top speed like we normally do.
I think what’s going on in the world right now has given us both the kick we need to start looking after ourselves more. We’ve both started exercising regularly and I can’t even begin to tell you how different I feel, both mentally and physically after just 4-5 weeks. Its become a priority part of my days now rather than the thing I used to push to the back of the list. When I see people saying they’re worried, or anxious, or have a health complaint, I want to shout about nutrition and exercise from the rooftops but it’s something that people have to work out in their own time, if they want to.
Netflix/Amazon Prime/IPlayer etc
Of COURSE I couldn’t let this post go by without a mention of the best way to watch programmes. I mean! We are actually spoiled for choice during this time when we need to stay at home and my new little guilty pleasure has become trying to make sure I’m in bed for 9.30 to catch up on an episode or two of whatever I’m watching.
I’m actually overdue to write an updated post about what I’ve been watching lately but as someone who rarely watches terrestrial TV I’m so grateful that these days we have unending entertainment at our fingertips. Whether you love to walk, read, watch TV, be online, cook, we have never had so much access to entertainment/hobbies. If I lived alone I’d definitely be watching more, that’s for sure.
So it turns out that my main thrill in life is now gardening and learning to grow vegetables. Our garden was definitely the overwhelming consideration when we moved into the house – more space than we ever could have imagined but a massively daunting prospect for two total non-gardeners.
Then last year I decided to get stuck into a bit of a garden makeover, just a teeny one (!) and my goodness, everything changed. It’s odd to think about those Sliding Door moments isn’t it? If I hadn’t left work at the end of 2018 and decided to take a year out, the garden would still be its old self. Totally fine but nothing of interest to me. I may not have gotten sick and therefore not seen such a therapeutic harmony in growing things.
Aside from spring flowers, I’m attempting to grow veggies for the first time and have various stages of peas, tomatoes, courgettes, rocket, lettuce, broccoli, beans and herbs. I don’t think I’ve ever tended to anything with such care since the fluffs were babies. I’m going to write a separate blog post all about that but we’ll see if they actually grow into anything we can eat.
Who knows how long this will all go on for and what life will be like when we do start resuming it? I just know that I want to stop wishing time away, that no matter our struggles and we all have them, and no matter those days when I feel down and don’t want to get out of bed, I want to make sure that I’m being grateful for something every single day. Don’t think about what you miss, think about what you have.