Spending Thanksgiving in San Francisco this year meant less time devoted to travel and much more downtime. Last weekend that led to catch-up phone calls with family across the country and lots time for reflection, almost an early year-end review.
Early in the year, I started keeping track of what I was grateful for using an app called Lift. I really enjoyed the act of stopping for a moment (often on the bus) to think about what I was grateful for on that day, in that exact moment. I didn’t over think it either. It was more of a stream of consciousness exercise.
Somehow, I’ve kept up the habit for most of the year with intermittent streaks of more than 30 days in a row. (Right now, I’m on day 34 of a new streak!) It hadn’t occurred to me when I started doing this how much fun it would be to look back on the year through this lens.
Here are some of the everyday things I’ve been grateful for this year, in no particular order.
Dinner parties ~ clean sheets ~ a morning filled with writing ~ no travel for three weeks ~ a great first date ~ car camping in Death Valley ~ leaving Las Vegas ~ my couch ~ California’s rugged shores ~ great coworkers ~ seeing my niece’s gymnastics class ~ fog ~ (mostly) healed feet after the Grand Canyon ~ birthday cake ~ an overdue visit to the Petersen family farm ~ anticipation ~ my first taste of mooncakes in Chinatown ~ leftovers ~ finally finishing something I’d put off for way too long ~ feeling ease in risk ~ my BFF who makes me laugh often and loudly ~ progress even when it’s slow and incremental ~ my nephews ~ funny texts with friends ~ napping ~ blueberries ~ putting pen to paper ~ spectacular Hawaiian sunsets ~ solid concentration ~ my sister ~ an empty middle seat on a flight from SFO to DFW ~ years of creative inspiration from my mom ~ freshly baked bread ~ rain! ~ a drizzly walk along the beach in Carmel ~ Texas hospitality ~ getting my orchid to bloom again.
Travel has become a big part of my everyday life. I’ve been jokingly calling 2014 my year of Americana, but there’s actually no joking about it. I’ve covered a lot of ground in the United States this year, from coast to coast and in the middle too.
Where I’ve been so far this year:
Dallas, San Francisco, Corte Madera, Miami, Healdsburg, Half Moon Bay, Carmel, Vancouver*, Birmingham, Point Lobos, Yountville, Washington D.C., Maui, Portland, Tahoe, Des Moines, Phoenix, Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon, more Dallas, Las Vegas, and Death Valley.
+Chicago next week for work.
“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.” ~ Melody Beattie
It’s already been a pretty incredible year. I’m so thankful to be able to explore this incredibly diverse, beautiful country I call home. It’s quite a privilege.
P.S. — The other habit I’ve picked up this year that has made a world of difference is writing Morning Pages, three handwritten pages of stream of consciousness writing done (ideally) first thing in the morning. I highly recommended it.
*While Vancouver felt a lot like the U.S. and the rest of the Pacific Northwest, it was my only non-U.S. stop of the year.