That first year after my husband left me was hell. Absolute hell. It was sheer bloody-mindedness (as my mother would have said) that kept me going. I know some people in this situation who took to their bed for days – and that worked for them , so I’m not going to diss it – but I feared that if I did so, I would never get out of it.
No matter how little I’d slept that night, I set my alarm for 7am, got up, showered, made my bed, went for a walk… and refused to go back to bed until at least 9pm.
One of the things I did during that time was keep a Gratitude Journal. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but I felt that if – amongst all the pain and drama that surrounded me – I could find at least five things to be grateful for each day, then I had to count it as a positive day. They didn’t have to be big things – a nice cup of coffee, a beautiful sunrise, an e-mail from a friend, a squirrel scuttling in front of me when I went for my walk – but they made me take notice and appreciate life around me.
Which brings me to a realisation I had yesterday. You know you sometimes read these articles that tell you to live each day as if it might be your last? Although I no longer keep a gratitude journal, the habit of feeling grateful has stuck. Every night I say thank you for a day well lived. So when I thought about what I would do if I knew ‘today’ was my last day, I realised that I’d do exactly what I do every day.
First off, I’d go for my morning walk – I’m lucky that I live by a river park.
Then I’d do a little writing. While walking gives me a physical workout, writing gives me a mental one, and I always feel better after it – even if it’s just catching up with my diary or writing some e-mails.
At some point I’d have coffee with a friend – it might ‘only’ be over Skype, but it’s still lovely spending time with them.
The icing on the cake on my ‘last’ day … spending with my kids and grandkids as I did today. To hear my grandkids’ squeals of joy when they see me walking up the path, or shouting my name as they come through my front door, or climbing onto my lap when I read them a story, or calling my name to watch them as they climbed the equipment at the play park… It’s magic.
I hope today isn’t my last day, but if it is, I am grateful for the joy these simple days my new life has brought me.
How lucky am I to spend my perfect ‘last’ day every day.
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