An Exercise In Appreciation
This weekend it’s been a warm 20 degrees in Southampton with the sun shining. It’s 1PM on Sunday and I spent the morning in the gym, with a quick swim and dip in the jacuzzi. Meanwhile, my girlfriend, brother and many of my friends will have been in the library, studying for university exams, missing out on the sun.
Sat in a hot tub full of bubbles, focusing on the light coming through the large windows and not the large gentleman staring back at me, I realised I have a lot to be grateful for today. And that I had little excuse to be on a downer yesterday when the extent of my hardship involved cleaning my room for a few hours.
With that in mind, I wanted to write a short post outlining 5 things I am grateful for today. It’s self-indulgent but it is also entirely harmless, if out of character.
5 Things I Am Grateful For Today
#1 A caring (and patient) girlfriend
First and foremost, a shoutout has to go to my girlfriend, Catherine, who coincidentally makes up 50% of this blog’s readership. You’d have to know me really well to know that I get unprovoked on/off switch mood swings; I’m infuriatingly indecisive and have a terrible tendency towards self-pity. These are not attractive qualities but she puts up with me nonetheless – I have no idea why.
I refuse to write anything sickly (especially on record), but suffice to say that she makes non-events like watching TV an event I look forward to.
#2 A job I like with great people
Not many people enjoy their work. Even fewer find a first-job that they don’t actually mind going to. But I’m pretty sure I do, although it’s often hard to take a step back on the not-so-great days and appreciate the bigger picture.
This week I went along to my boss’ wedding reception with two colleagues and Catherine. To those that didn’t already know, I work for a small start-up, to date, still the only full-time employee. I have a great boss, best described as a mentor, and I love working alongside our interns, who have become good friends.
Briefly chatting with our boss’ dad on the dancefloor gave me a new perspective on the business and what it means to him. It might have been his dad’s prep talk, it might have been the open bar, but I feel committed to helping make a success of it.
#3 My Nan’s old car
It’s often overlooked just how life-changing having a car can be. I was extremely fortunate to inherit my late grandmother’s car and drive it around with a great sense of pride. Every now and then, I’ll notice the Roman Catholic pendant she kept in the side compartment, I’ll give it a rub and think of her.
Having a car has truly opened up Southampton to me. The many places on my doorstep – the New Forest, Bournemouth, Chichester, Salisbury and Winchester – have all become accessible to me too and weekend road-trip destinations.
Driving to work has gifted me time every day that I had lost commuting on the bus. I’m able to visit and pick up Catherine, avoiding a 30-minute walk for us both.
The ability to pop home for a weekend has been a game-changer and one I intend to make a lot more use out of. Home feels closer than ever. Thanks Nan.
#4 Having friends around the country
Too often I catch myself complaining that the vast majority of the friends I met at university graduated and left me behind. Or that the extent of my social circle back home only stretches to half a dozen school friends.
In reality, I am extremely lucky to have a few very close friends who have been constants in my life. One of whom, I found out this week, I will be living with, in Southampton, next year – and I cannot wait.
Beyond that, staying in Southampton, I have met so many new friends. A group at my new sports club. Work colleagues. Not to mention my girlfriend and some of her friends too. Next weekend, I’m going home to catch up with the oldies. The weekend after, I’m heading to London for a long-overdue uni reunion.
They might not live around the corner anymore, but I have great friends around the country. God forbid we would ever ring each other, but I know they are only ever a text message away. However slow some of them reply…
With the sun shining this weekend and two afternoons spent at the park, I could not help but notice that it is dog-walking weather again.
As I watched the different shapes and sizes running after balls and glaring at the ducks, I longed for my late canine companion.
At the start of this year, we sadly lost Tara, long before her time and rather unexpectedly. My brother and I used to always protest when it was our turn to take her out but how I wish now that we could. Just for one last walk.
This is not a sad post. This is an appreciative note because gratitude is definitely something I feel towards her for the 9 happy years she gave us. I will remember you this summer and all my summers after that.
Dear reader, I appreciate this post was more introverted than usual but it was an exercise that really picked me up today. Stopping every now and again to reflect on these things is important. I’d encourage you to take note too.