On Gratitude

Well, it’s been a very busy couple of weeks. We just left Antalya, Turkey and before that, we were in Athens, Greece. Both of the trips had highlights that I’m sure I’ll cover in some other post, but today, I’d like to keep it simple and answer just one question: How do you stay sane on a 9.5 month deployment?

You don’t. The pendulum swings between sanity and insanity. Some days I am up for 37 hours straight until my thoughts are wooly and the words jumble when they come out of my mouth. And some days I sit at a console, drumming my fingers and navel gazing: how did I ever end up here? Of course, there are fun times like singing Les Miserables in the office with my friendleagues (friendly colleagues: aan you hear the people sing. Or laughing in surprise at some unexpected joke or email.

I keep coming across this Annie Dillard quote:annie dillard quote, how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives

 

And I realize that it is the everyday part of the everydayglamourblog that I am consistently drawn to. Days are the simplest building blocks of our existence like atoms in the body. Yet I routinely find myself dreaming my way through most of my day. I imagine whole lifetimes where my life is one exciting moment after another. I’d give anything to skip the boring stretches of time. I’d like to fast forward to the fun parts where I meet the love of my life or sell my first business, or win my first writing award. It is so much easier to fantasize about the future than to be present in today.

I always think that sounds hokey when I see it on other people’s blogs: practice being present in today. But, it is true nonetheless. To truly understand/enjoy/grasp this singular life – which is just the sum of many days (some much more mundane than others) – requires my daily attention. Maybe even hourly attention.

One way that I am attempting this daily attentiveness is by writing down three things that happened during the day for which I am grateful. Of course, this is a work in progress, which lends itself rather nicely to a new blog category: On Gratitude.

For now though, I’ll leave you with the three things that are keeping me sane on this deployment and for which I am supremely grateful.

1. Good Books. I just finished The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. It took me a solid week to realize that the book was 800 pages (thanks Kindle!). For several days, I thought that I’d just become a slow reader. Length aside, the book is excellent and I definitely recommend it.

2. Writing (surely you saw that coming). I hadn’t written anything (not even an email) in over 2 weeks and as a result I was listless and despondent and physically bloated. Strange, huh? I was full of ideas and thoughts with no outlet. I finally sat down to write the Bestie an email and it was the biggest stress relief. I’m not sure why I meet such resistance with doing the thing that most makes me feel like myself. As I wrote, I could feel the shift as my ship righted to even keel.

3. PIC MONKEY. www.picmonkey.com is an online photo editor and it is pretty amazing. I make all of my graphics on there (see Annie Dillard Quote above). AND I’ve figured out some pretty cool effects for pictures. I think I pay $8 per month for the Royale service, but it is totally worth it and is an excellent outlet for all types of creative endeavors. Here is a perfect example: A picture of me at the Parthenon in Greece (I even erased the fence that was behind me!):

Parthenon, Athens Greece, vacation, tourists

The cool girl-who-survivied-the-zombie-apolcalypse version:

Vacation, Athens Greece, Parthenon, history, tourists, pic monkey, photo editing

And, my personal favorite, the sun shining on me:

parthenongreece vacation tourist pic monkey1

parthenongreece vacation tourist pic monkey1

That’s all for today. Let me know in the comments section below three things that keep you even keel.

 

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