An attitude of gratitude


It's a beautiful day today and I often think to myself how lucky I am to have all this on my doorstep. I come from a background where we didn't have much. My father was a single parent, had a basic factory job, and it was a struggle to make ends meet with me and my sister. I remember people used to take pity on us and give us things like second hand clothes and furniture because we couldn't afford much. 

School was problematic when it came to inviting friends around because we had carpet that didn't really fit because it had come from somewhere else, a mismatch of bits of furniture, and when you're a child and you compare that to friends houses there was always a sense of shame we were different. That was compounded by being in a small town where we were the object of gossip due to our mother leaving us, so things were difficult.

It's only now I'm older I can see the blessing in that upbringing. Years ago holidays, meals out, cinema trips and other things were treats, not just for us but it wasn't regular for many people. Now these things are taken for granted by so many. There are people suffering terrible deprivation but there are many who have more than they realise.

Gratitude is a wonderful quality to cultivate. Very often people don't appreciate their health and body until something goes wrong. I count myself lucky that whilst I don't look like a model my body allows me to do lots of really cool stuff, like bonkers endurance rides!

I also get lots of joy out of simple things, one of my favourite bits of the day is giving my chickens some treats. As soon as they see me they're jumping about excited and it makes me smile every time. I have a bench by one of the ponds and I like sitting there in summer with a cup of tea enjoying the quiet. Just very simple things that aren't fancy but bring me happiness.

People can spend a lot of time focusing on the negative, and what they don't have, so being grateful is such a powerful thing. I don't complain about the UK because as a woman I'm relatively safe, I've had a university education, I'm free to make many choices such as my spirituality and sexual choices. I have considerably more freedom than many.

It's a nice journalling exercise to think of three things in the day you're grateful for, I think it helps to look at life from a different perspective sometimes. Whilst my life is far from perfect if I had the choice of any life, including having tons of money, I'd still pick the one I've got. I'm rich because I have the animals, nature around me, I have my cycling, and I can be creative. I can't think of anything else I'd rather do.

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