In a weird twist of fate, I got a tweet from St John of God Hospital today while I was planning to write a post about being grateful - turns out it's gratitude day, so that's what I call epic timing!
The idea had come to me as I was settling into my bedtime routine last night, as they so often do, and I quickly made a note on my phone to remind me before the thought flitted away. Rather appropriate.
In a world of #FirstWorldProblems and games of "my life is more stressful than yours", we can often neglect to pay homage to how lucky each one of us is. I'm by no means saying these are easy times we live in - each news cycle brings another story to break your heart, there's the pressures and strains of our day-to-day life, compounded by the financial hardship and social problems our country is experiencing. These are not easy times, but nor are they hopeless times.
Like the majority of people, 2014 has been a mixed bag of the sweet and sour for me. Highs of pure happiness and achievement, marbled with unexpected lows and disappointment. It is when we are going through the latter that it can be difficult to hold onto the goodness from the former. But it's when we need it most.
The concept of #gratitudeday is one I wholeheartedly endorse - because no matter what the circumstances, I know that each and every one of us can find a few things we're grateful for. By taking a moment to see the rays of light in our life, whatever form they come in, doing so will fortify us in our darker moments. They remind us that we are essentially an eternally hopeful lot for we do always have something to be hopeful for.
So here's my list of things I'm grateful for today. The majority of them may seem simple; indeed they are day-to-day pleasures. But they strengthen my spirit when I'm having a bad day or a moment of doubt. For them, I am eternally grateful.
1. My friends and family. They are the dog to my bone, the milk in my tea. I could not be me without their love and support and for each and everyone of them, I'm grateful.
2. A roof over my head and food in my fridge. Recent harrowing homeless statistics make this all the more poignant and I hope you'll be joining me in making whatever donation you can on pay-day.
3. Cuddles with my cat, Beau. Animals are such wonderful givers of love and a snuggle from something small (or in the case of Beau, a bit chunky from too much chicken) and fluffy can put a smile on the saddest of faces.
4. The approaching festive season when we all get to become big kids again, marveling at sparkling lights, delighting in carols, and feeling a bit fuzzy inside at the Christmas magic.
5. That there is always someone to talk to thanks to organisations like the Samaritans and Pieta House and I'm grateful to be an Ambassador for ReachOut.com and do whatever I can to promote positive mental health in Ireland and decrease the unnecessary stigma about it.
6. That there is breath in my body, fight in my soul and the sure knowledge that no matter what you're going through, better days are always coming.