I shared the above quote over on the <em>press Instagram earlier this week. Ironically, we had created it well in advance, and I hadn’t even thought about the fact that it would be going up the week of Thanksgiving. Talk about perfect timing! Maybe it was the universe’s way of telling me to slow down this week and appreciate all the happiness that’s in front of me everyday. Because as I reread its sentiment, I realized I’ve been feeling especially grateful recently (Thanksgiving not withstanding!). I thought I’d check in with you and share three things I’ve been feeling thankful and grateful for, as we head into the holiday.
Small thing: music.
The simplest pleasure in the world is listening to a set of songs you love while driving down an open road.
I grew up drawn to music, but was never able to produce it well (despite piano lessons and my best attempts to pretend I was a good singer. I’m not. Don’t ask me to sing for you; you’ll regret it). Regardless, I used to spend hours at a time lying on the floor of my room, listening to the radio and CDs, and later, downloading music off Napster (remember the days??). I’d make friends mixtape after mixtape, and occasionally write my own lyrics to melodies I couldn’t really produce. I also danced — like, in my bedroom, sure, but also more formally, with studio classes multiple times per week for the better part of a decade of my childhood. For me, the sensation of totally feeling and being in the music as you moved was the best high ever.
In recent years, as I got on the Spotify bandwagon, it’s as though I’ve been able to reconnect with music. It’s mood booster, therapy, and something that brings people together. The day before we left for Kauai, I went to the Odesza concert at the Greek Theatre in Berkeley and it was probably one of the best nights of my year. The concert was insane (like, the best I’ve ever been to), but just the feeling of the music, people dancing, and the good energy in the amphitheater was totally invigorating.
It seems like a small thing, but I’ve been feeling really grateful that I can get so much enjoyment out of listening to tunes, that it makes my workday so much more fun, that I can share music with you, and that I can enjoy it with friends as well.
Big thing: my home and life here in San Francisco
Three days into our trip to Kauai, I was ready to go home. It wasn’t because the trip wasn’t great or the surroundings unpleasant — both couldn’t be further from the truth! It’s just that after about three days of rest and relaxation, I was itching to come back to my own life.
Joe felt the same way, and we began chatting about how much our lives have evolved over the last few years. The long and short of it is that after several extremely tumultuous years, uncertainty, heartache, and personal evolution, we really like our lives a lot. So much so that we don’t need more than a few days away to unwind, rest up, and feel ready to come back to it.
When I am away, I miss my work. Not working necessarily, but I miss creating and the feeling of running my own show everyday. My mind will grow restless and bored at the same time. I’ll miss my apartment, my office. I’ll miss Lucy, cooking in our own kitchen, the clicking of hummingbirds in the bushes outside my window, the way the light travels across our apartment throughout the afternoon. I like this life. Right now, I don’t need to escape from it.
So that’s a funny thing I didn’t tell you about our vacation. It was great, but I couldn’t wait to come back to my life. It’s a positive thing! And once it dawned on me, it made me feel immensely grateful, because it has taken years to feel this comfortable in the now. Which leads me too…
Really big thing: developing grace for myself.
The thing I have been feeling most grateful for is that I’ve developed grace and forgiveness for myself. This includes accepting myself, and looking at the parts that have always been scary or felt uncomfortable.
Let me be clear: my life is not perfect and never will be. Everything is a work in progress, always. For me, practicing grace has translated to being more present in my own life, while simultaneously remembering that everything evolves in its own good time. Somehow, I always end up right where I’m supposed to be. In my 20s, I was so hard on myself all the time, and also felt panicked about whether I was directing my life in ways that would be a fit for me down the road. I think that as you learn to listen to yourself and trust your own intuition, it’s a lot easier to go with the flow and be along for the ride of your life (literally). In turn, I’m easier on myself. I can forgive myself for things big and small.
I guess this all boils down to being more comfortable in my own skin, and taking life (and all it throws at you) in stride. I worry about the future just like anyone else, but I’ve been feeling like I’m able to live my personal mantra of having faith in yourself and in your future. Nothing feels insurmountable, because over and over, even through hard times, everything has eventually worked out. So in the present, it becomes easier to give myself grace everyday. Does that make sense? It’s a big thing, an abstract thing, but something that’s felt extremely satisfying for me to integrate into my everyday.
Thanks for letting me share these personal thoughts today! I’m curious, what are the things —small and large — that you’re thankful for right now?