Gratefulness Challenge Day 12

What a Tuesday! Lots of catching up from taking Monday off, but worth the extra busy day. It was great to actually venture out of the house after hiding away for 24 hours. Also caused the things I chose to talk about today for my Gratefulness Challenge to be more related to the outside world and how I choose to interact with it than yesterday, which was much more focused on internal appreciation.

1. Options: The reason I decided to write about options is because I think I began and then deleted a description of about five different things while writing todays post. This made me think of just how many options we have in life. Not only do I have a plethora of things to be thankful for from the past 24 hours (that in itself is pretty phenomenal) but I also have billions of other options presented to me on a daily basis.

Everything from what food to eat and which bus route to take up to what career to pursue and which country to live in is up for discussion. The number of options open to people are astounding. The phrase “there is no other option” should just be removed from use, because I don’t think it is ever true. And it’s not even like I am choosing between a good and a bad option. Often I get to choose between multiple desirable options.

Now there is a flip side to having so many options. It can at become overwhelming at times to the point of being paralyzing. There is actually a great TED talk by Barry Schwartz where he talks about exactly that: the paradox of choice. He says that too many options can actually leave us less happy because then if what we choose doesn’t work out how we would like, we end up regretting not making a different decision. Though I do see and agree with his point, here’s the part that he leaves out. Though you may not be able to go back in time and pick something else, if you look ahead you will notice that you still have an infinite number of options available to you. Option is just another way of saying opportunity, and opportunities are absolutely awesome.

2. Patience: Oh did I ever need all the patience I could muster yesterday. As I may have mentioned before I teach dance at a few places around Toronto and though I do truly love getting to pass along my love for dance, sometimes it can be hard. Enthusiasm is wonderful but it can be a challenge to channel it into something constructive. I had some very enthusiastic munchkins yesterday so I was grasping for every ounce of patience I had.

To be completely honest, I’m not a very patient person to begin with. I guess the part of growing up where you become more tolerant and don’t desire everything to happen at that exact second hasn’t quite happened for me yet. It is a constant project of mine to cultivate a patient perspective. I frequently remind myself that everyone moves at their own pace. Therefore, whenever I am successful at being patient, I give myself an extra pat on the back. Life is a lot easier when you take everything in stride instead of constantly tapping your foot, waiting for things to go how you would like. Therefore I am choosing to remind myself of the value of being patient through being grateful for how helpful it was for me today.


IMG_02373. My mom:
So usually I write about things that relate to the day previous to my post, but today I had to make an exception. That’s because today is my mom’s birthday so it was just too perfect a reason to talk about how awesome she is. I know lots of people say theirs moms are amazing, but my mom is really something else. I’m not the only person that has spoken her praises.

I think the most significant thing I have learned from my mom is how to be a strong woman. She is a self proclaimed girlie girl, yet also a quick witted go getter who will take on just about any challenge. She walks in a room and you can’t help but look her way for her beauty radiates from the inside out. She is always smiling and laughing and such a sociable human being. She may be feminine, but in no way is she weak.

Give my mom any task and she will have it perfected in an instant. It is from her that I learned the value of working hard. Never have I seen her backdown from an obstacle. She has always encouraged me to find the answers on my own. At times I found it frustrating when she refused to do things for me growing up, but I know now that her insistence in making me independent came from the fact that she saw more potential in me than I was capable of seeing in myself. And when I figured something out all on my own, never have I seen someone so proud.

She is also the queen of reinvention. In the almost 23 years I have known my mom she has worked in various fields and excelled in all of them. If something isn’t working, then it means something needs to change. Everything she takes on she does in an organized, and researched fashion. Her constant state of change does not come from a lack of commitment, but instead from a pursuit to constantly better herself.

My childhood is filled with memories of much love and much passion. My mother is an emotional powerhouse. Speaking your mind, actually more accurately loudly proclaiming your mind, was just a part of life in our family. Our home was filled with laughter followed by screaming, followed by more laughter and hugs. I felt free to fully express myself, because I knew that no matter what I would still be loved. My mother was strict, but she was also compassionate. She demanded respect and hard work, but also embraced emotions and self-expression.

It’s hard for me to describe someone so phenomenal in only a few paragraphs. I’ve shied away from writing about specific people during my gratefulness challenge simply because I was afraid I couldn’t do them justice in words. And to be honest, I don’t really think I have given my mom even close to enough justice, but I have done my best. If I turn out half has loving, personable, giving, driven and strong as she is, then I will be more than satisfied with the person I have become. Happy birthday mom!

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