Globally the news was unsettling, to say the least. Planes disappeared or were shot out of the sky. Russia reminded us that they still remain a threat. Entire communities were devastated by fire, mudslides, floods and tornadoes. Ebola became a frightening reality and a household word. More shootings happened at more schools, with more lives senselessly lost. The ugliness of racism was brought into the spotlight. Police officers were assassinated.
We lost people who made us laugh, like Robin Williams; and people who made us think, like Maya Angelou. Members of Congress stomped their feet like children and refused to work together to support the people who elected them.
Personally, we took a major loss when we sold our first home. My dad was hospitalized in a long, scary night. I said goodbye to a colleague and friend. My dog had some major health issues, including an emergency vet visit on Mother’s Day. We had an ant invasion in our new home on Father’s Day. I saw a milestone birthday that made me face the reality of how short life really is.
In the midst of all that, it’s easy to get mired in the negativity. But being able to recognize the blessings in life that really matter helps keep us grounded and feel just a little safer in our own small part of the world.
My husband and I faced some of the most trying times in our marriage — and came out stronger in the end. My dad recovered and is doing well, and still bowls at the ripe old age of 87, along with my mom, who’s now 86. In fact, we celebrated their 64th anniversary. My dog recovered and is well, and they both make me smile every day.
I’m incredibly fortunate to still have my parents with me as I reached the age of 50. We are blessed to have the means to buy a new home with the solitude we were hoping for. I learned that true friends are rare and must be appreciated. I have a job I enjoy that sometimes let’s me help people who I’ve never met, thanks to social networks. I was also fortunate to form new friendships with wonderful people through those same networks.
When I sit back and think of all the blessings in my life, I know I have much to be thankful for — and family and friends are tops on that list, along along with the little things that make life wonderful. Things like having the time to read a book, watching fireflies from our deck on a warm summer night, having a true friend who will laugh and cry with you, celebrating holidays with family, and watching dogs run with pure joy are just some of those.
As this year closes and I prepare for another new year, I’m grateful for all those things. Focusing on those are what’s important and helps to manage the big, bad, scary things that are happening all around us every day.
So what are the little things in life that you are grateful for as we welcome 2015?