In my past life I wasn’t the most positive person you could meet. I didn’t really love my work, I was generally working too hard and drinking too much, I didn’t spend enough time with my family, and my priorities were well out of whack.
Richard and I had spent more than we could reasonably afford on a statement house, so we could look like we were successful. In reality we were in a spiral of debt, stress and vertigo bought on by trying to climb an impossibly high ladder. A ladder where the top was always going to be out of reach.
When we finally let go, the relief was palpable. We sold our expensive house and replaced it with something more modest. I quit my job and replaced it with spending more time with my kids, and writing, which I love. The debt was gone, the stress was gone, we had regained our lives.
And yet, when people ask how I am, it took a long time for me to stop saying “ok”. I had spent so long being not great, that when I was, it took effort to recognise how good my life had become. The first step was to take “ok” or “fine” out of my vernacular, and replace it with “great”, “fantastic”, “brilliant”, “amazing”, or even “just so very good”.
I don’t always appreciate how good I have it now. I have my days when I’ve fought with the kids, my husband, the cat, and things don’t feel brilliant. I had a day like this a week or so ago. I needed to go for a walk, reluctantly pulled on my exercise gear and headed out the door, hands in pockets, headphones in, feeling grumpy and frankly unappreciative.
Then I hit the Auckland waterfront.
The sun was out, the sea was calm, Rangitoto was looking perfect against the skyline.
And I realised how lucky I am to live the life I have.
How lucky I am to live in my beautiful city, in my beautiful country. How lucky I am to have a roof over my head, food on my table, money in the bank. How lucky I am to have an amazing husband and two delicious children. How lucky I am to have use of my limbs, my brain, my health.
How lucky I am to be able to walk away from my old life to embrace my new.
As I write this, I’m sitting with my friends at our ski club at the top of Mt Ruapehu. The weather is terrible, we’re stuck inside, the children’s voices are increasing to fever pitch. We can’t ski today and we’re unlikely to be able to ski tomorrow. It would be easy to complain, until I think about how privileged I am to be here at all!
It doesn’t take much to be thankful. A few moments to think about how our lives used to be. A few moments to reflect on others who don’t have what we have.
And I am thankful. And blessed.
I love my life.
RECIPE: A WARM LEMON CHICKEN SALAD
The days are getting longer and a little warmer, and I’m ready to leave winter behind. This salad bridges the seasonal gap perfectly.